Cocaine in the cola -- Red Bull isn't the first

Ever wondered why Red Bull gave you so much energy? It could be the cocaine.

Six German states have told retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola energy drinks after a test found a trace amount of cocaine. The bans started Friday after a sample test conducted by authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state found 0.4 micrograms per liter in the drink.

Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment said Monday that the cocaine level was too low to pose a health risk but will be doing additional testing.

Red Bull might be the latest company to sell cocaine in their drink, but it sure wasn't the first. Coca-Cola was invented in 1885 and until the early 1900s, one of the ingredients was cocaine. At that time, it was sold as a patent medicine. It was promoted as a temperance drink offering the virtues of coca without the vices of alcohol. The new beverage was described as "invigorating and popular." I bet.

In the United States, cocaine was sold over-the-counter until 1914. It was widely used in tonics, toothache cures, patent medicines, and chocolate cocaine tablets. Prospective buyers were advised (in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis) that cocaine "could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain."

Personally, I think selling products that contain addictive substances is probably a good business decision. You don't have to worry about getting new customers, just keep people coming back because it has become a habit.

I was thinking about this as I waited in the drive through at Starbucks. I could make coffee at home, I even have an espresso machine. But everyday, I wait in line for my latte because they just taste so good.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. Do you have a story about an irritating or negative person? Submit your Energy Sucker story at The People Pro.
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