For centuries, Peruvian and Bolivian mountain dwellers have chewed cocaine leaves to counteract the effects of fatigue and hunger.
CU INTERIOR Sacks of cocaine leaves being stacked up.
CU Leaves being sorted.
SV Fluid cocaine extract being poured into bottles. (2 SHOTS)
SV Man stirring thick cocaine concentrate. (2 SHOTS)
SV Tube of Coca Dent toothpaste being opened and squirted on to glass plate to show natural brown colour.(2 SHOTS)
CU Tubes of Coca Dent toothpaste.
SV Man wearing mask sorting coca leaves on conveyor belt.
SV & CU Ground coca being fed into plastic bag. (2 SHOTS)
CU Man tipping ground coca into packaging machine.
SV Machine packaging tea. (3 SHOTS)
SV INTERIOR Coca mate on sale in supermarket. (3 SHOTS)
SV Pharmacy with boxes of coca mate on sale and people buying them. (4 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: For centuries, Peruvian and Bolivian mountain dwellers have chewed cocaine leaves to counteract the effects of fatigue and hunger. Under Peruvian law, cocaine leaves may be chewed by anyone working or living at an altitude above 1,500 metres (yards). Seventy per cent of the country's cocaine production is consumed by Andean mountain dwellers; the rest is exported for pharmaceutical use or to the US company Coca-Cola. But now the national cocaine company ENACO, which holds a monopoly on the production and processing of cocaine in Peru, has found new uses for the leaves. Its latest product is called "Coca Dent", a toothpaste containing between 0.5 and one percent cocaine extract, in addition to normal toothpaste ingredients. The product is not yet on sale commercially, but researchers believe that the toothpaste can help achieve higher public dental health standards. Studies of Andean people have shown they possess remarkably healthy teeth, and even children too young to have started the habit, but whose parents regularly chew coca leaves, also have above average healthy teeth. Further studies must be carried out on the new toothpaste before it can go on sale, but ENACO has already achieved some success with another cocaine-based product: coca green tea. The tea is made from ground coca leaves and packed in tea bags for sale locally. ENACO spokesmen say the tea has a mildly stimulant effect and combats altitude sickness. It has been on sale for six months in both supermarkets and pharmacies. The company plans to start exporting the tea in 1984.