This article examines alternatives to the War on Drugs through a comparative analysis of attitudes toward coca and cocaine in South America. Two regions of traditional coca use and cultivation -- northwest Amazonas state in Brazil and the department of Cusco in Peru -- are compared to highlight the differences between Peruvian and Brazilian attitudes toward coca and ethnic identity.
Coca appears to be a useful treatment for various gastro-intestinal ailments, motion sickness, and laryngeal fatigue. It can be an adjunct in programs of weight reduction and physical fitness and may be a fast-acting antidepressant. It is of value in treating dependence on stronger stimulants.