I have recently been assigned a project for SAS Pharmaceuticals aiming for an innovative and thought provoking outcome about SAS, It could be good or bad.
I originally had two ideas and I am still slightly torn. The first focussing on a series of experiments to do with the effect of Placebos on sportsmen, having looked at a BBC I Player documentary about Cyclists, and the natural performance enhancing hormones that are created when the cyclists believes they have an additional illegal boost, this idea could be further explored and would fit in well with the Tour de France this summer.
My other idea was to focus on the production of pharmaceuticals thought natural resources such as the Coca leaf, and its benefits, or lack of benefits.
In the past places like South America, which produce this Coca leaf in mass, have had to battle with the issue on whether the Coca leaf should not be farmed due to its harmful production of Cocaine for years. Yet the Coca leaf is also a medicinal herb too therefore an ongoing battle that still has not been fought.
I went to Bolivia for 3 weeks to see my brother and found myself being surrounded by the Coca leaf. It is a leaf grown that is used as a local everyday remedy to cure just about anything, including altitude sickness, dizziness, headaches ect. It is taken in the form of chewing the leaves with ash until the side of your mouth goes numb. However it is also the leaf where when mixed with chemicals produces Cocaine, a very dangerous and harmful drug. There is s huge fine line between the good and bad of this leaf which produces the majority of income for Bolivia, and that is down to what is mixed and added to the formation of the Coca drug, whether for pharmaceutical use or recreational.
During my trip it became my mission to get as much information about all the pharmaceutical products created from the Coca leaf, and determine which are good, which are bad and investigate the difference between those and Cocaine. I took photos and visited a Coca farm, Coca Museum and a Cocaine factory as well as talking to locals for research over the three weeks, hoping that something of the information I would be able for create into an outcome, as I saw potential in that intriguing topic.
Coca and Ash being weighed out.
I photographed the information leaflet in order to keep the background information.
Dr Jose Maria Gamarra “El Rey de La Coca” (the founder of Coca).
One of my own photographs of a local chewing Coca leaf.
These images show the process of how to chew and digest the medicinal Coca.
Here is a comparison grid of the effect of nutrients on Coca users and Non-Coca users in rural areas. Coca users generally take in more nutrients and therefore are healthier. It is a myth that digesting Coca is the solution as to why South Americans live so long.
This grid below interested me a lot as it shows the effectiveness of Coca and Cocaine, depending on how it is absorbed.
Below are the pharmaceutical products shown that all contain Procaine- a medicinal form of Cocaine produced on mass to sell around the world.
Drug addiction, the fine line between aiding ones illness and creating a deathly habit.
Below is shown the stages of creating Cocaine and the chemicals (and their bottles) that are used.
A model of a Bolivian worker knee depth in Coca leaves during harvest.
This page of the leaflet discusses and states the cost of Coca leaves and the rising cost of Cocaine.
Again the chemicals used to form Cocaine.
The form of absorbing Cocaine through “lines”.