According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the first major cocaine epidemic in the U.S. happened in the late 19th century. Prior to that time, there were absolutely no laws restricting the sales or consumption of the drug, and it was an ingredient in common products ranging from cigarettes to soda pop.
By the 1920s the negative effects associated with cocaine had become more than apparent, and the drug became illegal. It was dubbed “Public Enemy No. 1” by President William Taft. By the year 1914, Congress passed the Harrison act with flying colors, which steeply restricted the distribution and sale of the illicit stimulant. Today, it is estimated that roughly one out of every four American citizens — upwards of 50 million men and women across the country — have experimented with cocaine at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, for many, run-ins with the drug do not end at mere experimentation.