At the height of Jerry’s criminal enterprise, cocaine use was reaching epidemic levels. Its use, for the most part, had been ignored, attention only drawn by the episodes of violence in south Florida. Many Americans had grown up in the marijuana 60s and reasoned that a little sniff of white powder was okay, no more harmful than drinking alcohol. Many doctors thought it was okay, too. It didn’t scramble your brains and there was conjecture about whether or not it was addictive.
Jerry reasoned that he was doing nothing different than what the booze smugglers did during prohibition, and that soon, like whiskey, cocaine would be legal. If people wanted to get high, it was none of his business. He had felt the same way about marijuana. He personally never took the drug, and only minimally had used marijuana, but if others wanted, or needed, it, that was just fine. It kept him wealthy.
Initially, cocaine was so expensive that only the wealthy could afford it, but many within the government feared that as the price dropped, it would become more of a problem. Several congressional hearings were held, and in retrospect some of the testimony was laughable. A well-known drug expert from Yale University stated that “Cocaine doesn’t have the kind of health consequences that one sees with drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes…..We have given a great deal of cocaine to many individuals and find it to be a most remarkable drug.”
What I concluded after researching the early opinions is that you can always find reputable professionals who believe they know the answers. Like I said, laughable.
We need to think hard about our way of dealing with the cocaine problem. It’s certainly not working now.