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For College Tech Writing


This page is a temporary page for my College Technical Writing class.

It includes the three main individual assignments:

1. The resume 

2. The technical description

3. The instructions set





1. The Resume.



2. The technical description.





            For thousands of years, people have done drugs. For many, it is a means of escape from reality, something that “takes the edge off,” or something they have to try to see if it makes them feel good. No matter, what the initial reason is, the relationship between drugs and humans is complex and not black and white. Many types and families of drugs have their origins in separate areas of the world. One drug in particular has become one of the most infamous and popular drugs in the world, Cocaine. Throughout this paper, we go through a brief history of the drug and the plant it derives from and head into how cocaine is made. *Please note beforehand that this paper in its entirety does not condone the use of any illicit drugs or the creation of such drugs, but only exists for educational purposes.*




History of Cocaine


            The drug cocaine (or its scientific name Cocaine hydrochloride) was first isolated and derived from native plants in the late 1850s by European Scientists. Beforehand, natives in South America would chew on coca leaves in order to get an energetic high. After the discovery was made, scientists in the 1850s claimed that the drug was a “wonder drug;” however failed to realize how highly addictive the drug could be (Sullivan & Onion, 2018). The word for the drug was not created until a German graduate student gave the drug its name in a thesis they wrote in the 1860s (Mayer, 2018). There are two species of plants that cocaine comes from. The first plant has the scientific name, Erythroxylum Novogranatense. The second has the scientific name Erythroxylum coca (formally known as the coca plant) (Van, 2022).




Beginning the process


            The production of cocaine first begins with the cultivation of the native South American plants that it derives from. The plucking or stripping of the leaves of either two cocaine-bearing plants starts our process of creating cocaine. Once these leaves are off the plants, they are massed or crushed as shown in figure 1.1. transported to a treatment facility or lab where they continue the process (Ark Behavioral Health, 2022).




Figure 1.1



Mixing the Leaves

Within the confines of makeshift treatment facilities or laboratories, growers or workers begin the process of preparing the coca leaves for extraction. The mashed-up leaves are placed into large troughs or narrow open containers, where they are immersed in a solution consisting of water and nitric acid. Given the minimal cocaine content per leaf, typically hovering around a mere 1%, a substantial volume of leaves is necessary to yield a significant quantity of pure cocaine. Typically 400 kilos of coca leaves will equate to just one kilo of refined pure cocaine (National Geographic, 2021). Over the course of three days, the growers attend to the mixture, using a method closely related to the age-old tradition of winemaking in barrels. Through continuous stirring, (like the manual "working" of wine) the extractive process begins. The mixture gradually draws out the highly sought-after cocaine from the leaves and into the solution.


Creating the Coca Paste

Following the mixing phase, the workers or growers transition to the next stage of the production process. This next stage is where the transformation occurs that takes the coca liquid and the slug-like leaves and turns them into coca paste. This pivotal step happens within large barrels. Within these barrels is the coca liquid along with other additional ingredients that the workers add to the mix. Each of these additional ingredients plays a crucial role in the subsequent extraction and processing of the cocaine. Among these components, sulfuric acid takes an important role, working hand in hand with lime and either a large amount of gasoline or kerosene (Van, 2022). These ingredients are mixed with the coca liquid leaf slug to initiate the chemical reaction required for the alkaloid extraction (an alkaloid is a chemical compound found in plants) (Britannica, 2018). Through this mixing (pictured in Figure. 1.2) a chemical reaction in the organic compounds breaks down the coca leaves completely. The large amount of gasoline or kerosene that is placed into the barrel, helps transform the mixture into what is desired, coca paste. The wax-like substance, coca paste, settles at the bottom of the barrel (Murphy, 2021).


(Figure 1.2)



Removing the Coca paste


            Once the wax-like coca paste has settled to the bottom of the barrel. Workers take a cup and scoop out the gasoline. Since gasoline is an oil, it floats on top of the coca paste and allows the workers to extract the paste after the oil has been removed fairly easily.


Coca paste into cocaine


            The coca paste is scooped out by the workers out of the containers after the gasoline or kerosene is removed. Once the coca paste is removed from this old container or barrel, it goes into a new container where it is mixed with ingredients such as hydrochloric acid and acetone (other similar ingredients with similar chemical properties are used in replace of these to get the same outcome). As the paste, the acid, and the acetone combine it creates the final concoction that is known throughout the world as the illicit drug, cocaine (Van, 2022). The final part of this last step is to let the concoction dry in the sun or in well-lit facilities. The majority of the time, the batches of cocaine are sun-dried as pictured in figure 1.3.



Figure 1.3


Cutting the cocaine


            Since cocaine is an illegal substance and is sold on the black market for a profit, the distributors typically “cut” the cocaine to make a larger batch. The term cutting a drug means that the distributor or drug dealer adds a filler to the batch of drugs to increase the volume that they can sell (Hagen, 2021). The cutting process is done to increase the volume and increase the profits that the distributors and drug dealers get from selling the cocaine. Some substances that distributors or drug dealers use to cut cocaine are creatine, pre-workout, caffeine, laxatives, and even laundry detergent (American Addiction Centers, 2019). (See figure 1.4 for information on the effects of some of these cutting ingredients.) These types of ingredients are added by middlemen along the supply chain. One main cutting ingredient that is typically added by the initial creators of the cocaine batch is cement (National Geographic, 2021).


Figure 1.4





All in all, the production of cocaine involves a lot of manual labor and is a lengthy process. The process that cocaine goes through has many stages from coca leaf cultivation to the creation of coca paste and the final refinement into the illicit drug. This paper offers educational insight into the importance of understanding the history and processes behind such substances for societal awareness and education.



























American Addiction Centers. (2019). What is Cocaine Cut With? Adulterants & Substitutes. American Addiction Centers.

Ark Behavioral Health. (2022). How Cocaine Is Made | From Plant To Brick. ARK Behavioral Health.

Britannica. (2018). alkaloid | Definition, Structure, & Classification. In Encyclopædia Britannica.

Elkins, C. (2022). What Is a Narcotic? Drug Rehab.

Hagen . (2021, August 31). What Is Drug Cutting, and Why Is It Dangerous? First Steps Recovery.

Mayer, J. (2018, August 12). The Origin Of The Word “Cocaine.” Science Friday.

Murphy, E. (2021). How is Cocaine Made? From plant to powder. Recovered.

National Geographic. (2021). How Coca Leaves Become Cocaine | Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller. In YouTube.

Sullivan, M., & Onion, A. (2018, August 21). Cocaine. HISTORY; A&E Television Networks.

Van, B. (2022). Coca plants’ production pathway for cocaine finally unravelled. Chemistry World.



3. The instruction set


The Video.