Drug Policy

Drink Some Tea, Lose Your Job

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We recently received a letter from a reader who says he lost his job as a truck driver for a trash and recycling company where he had worked for more than two decades because he tested positive for cocaine in a random drug screen after inadvertently consuming some of his wife's coca tea. He notes that the Department of Transportation's drug testing guidelines (PDF) specify that "consumption of coca teas" should not be accepted "as a basis for verifying a cocaine test result as negative." Far be it from me to defend the ridiculous drug testing policies that have been foisted on employers by the federal government, which in this case (as in many others) led to a patently unfair result for an employee who posed no threat to anyone. But the rule regarding coca tea makes sense from a prohibitionist perspective. 

According to a 1996 study reported in Forensic Science International, "the consumption of a single cup of Peruvian or Bolivian coca tea produces positive drug test results for cocaine metabolites." The reason is straightforward: Coca tea contains cocaine; coca is where cocaine comes from. So this is not, strictly speaking, a "false positive." Since coca leaf, like cocaine, is a Schedule II substance, coca tea is illegal in the United States, although you can buy it online and customs agents often let it through. It is not safe to assume that the leaf in these teas, like the leaf used to flavor Coca-Cola, has been "decocainized," and distributors are cagey on this point. For example, "pure powdered coca leaves" from Bolivia sold on Amazon are promoted as a "great coffee substitute" that is "caffeine free," an "energy booster" and "antidepressant" that "acts against fatigue" and is "excellent for diets" as an "appetite suppressant." But the only components of coca it mentions are "potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins and all elements necessary in a daily diet." Hmm, what's missing from that list? Coca's stimulating, energizing, mood-lifting, appetite-suppressing effects do not come from potassium. The truck driver who wrote to us says the tea he drank, which his wife got from her mother, is available from brick-and-mortar stores as well as online, and the package says nothing about cocaine or even coca.

So if you have a job that requires drug testing, be careful about 100 percent natural, caffeine-free, yet mysteriously energizing tea from Peru or Bolivia. But if you are a customs agent, carry on as usual.

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  1. “I thought ‘M&M&Meths;’ meant they melted in your hands!”

    1. heh, I used to take this shit in college. 2-3 teabags chewed with llipta, and a ritalin, and i could actually see the fluorescent lighting flickering.
      havent ordered in a long time, not since the last box i got was a bunch of prewashed crap… probably some drug lab’s leftovers from production.

  2. That semicolon sneaked into my comment across the R;o Grande.

  3. Go with the yerba mate.

  4. It used to be legal to bring in up to 2 kilos of coca leaves into the US. They changed that at some point, but I’m not sure when.

  5. Today: Fired Cop Blames Failed Drug Test On Cup Of Coca Tea http://gothamist.com/2010/06/1…..test_o.php

    1. Wow. I just thought of a hilarious idea – bribing the guy who delivers water to police water coolers to slip in some coca tea powder into water coolers in a bunch of precincts. Then watch heads explode as they find out that 80% of the department is “on cocaine”.

  6. And I like that one of them advertises that it’s caffeine free.

  7. Hold up. You can get this on Amazon? If I order some, will I get arrested or otherwise fucked, oh wise lawyerin’ types of H&R?

    1. However, in the United States and in many other countries, it is illegal to obtain, possess, or use coca products

      You probably would not get arrested, but whether you want to try that or not is up to you. It may be legal in Canada, however.

      1. Shit, I knew it was too good to be true. Well, I’ll be visiting my sister in Canada shortly and she may or may not have access to substances even better than tea. Allegedly.

      2. The teas you buy from Amazon are Coca Tea, but they have had much of the cocaine removed from them. Although there are traces of it left, it is not the same as if you were in Peru drinking Coca Tea.

  8. I’m going to have to get me some of this tea.

    1. Go to South America to get the real shit. I think all the coca tea you get in the states has been decocanized.

      By the way, nothing fixes altitude sickness like coca tea. Goddamn, that shit is awesome.

      1. And I see that Sullum made that same fucking point. Read the fucking post, shitbag.

        However, my point about coca tea being awesome still stands.

        1. Actually, he said it was not safe to assume it’s been de-cocanized just because it’s here in the states. That’s why the guy got fired. Sounds like you need a pick me up, Warty.

          1. I do. I’m looking for the shadiest-looking coca tea I can find on Amazon right now.

            1. Share the knowledge, dude.

                1. Holy crap – it better be, for that price.

                  1. That’s an entire kilo, dude. If it’s the good shit, that’s a bargain.

                    I think I may have found a cheaper winner, though.

                    Caused me to lose job opportunity, April 10, 2010
                    By Debra Murphy “D. Murphy” (Duarte, CA) – See all my reviews

                    This review is from: Coca Tea Delisse Air Tight Bag, Organic 50 Ct (Health and Beauty)
                    Unbeknownst to be, this product is strong enough in its natural coca leaf form to cause you to test positive for cocaine use in a drug test. I just lost a job opportunity today thanks to my husband putting the contents of one or two tea bags in an eight cup pot of coffee in the morning and only drinking one cup per day. I am so disappointed. This is essentially an illegal product, so don’t believe the literature out there that says that coca in its natural form is different from the processed form and therefore not a drug. You will test positive for cocaine use. BEWARE!

                    1. I may have to order a bag. Right now.

                    2. I just bought one. We’ll see how awesome it is soon.

                    3. I just bought one too. I was going to buy the 25 count at only $9, but the fucking S&H is $9 whether you get the 25 or the 50, so I got the 50. Even if it’s no good, it’s still some green tea.

                    4. If there’s one thing we can always agree on, it’s that drugs are awesome.

                    5. Very true. Also, we can always agree that I am awesome. As for you…well, meh.

                    6. I agree that your anal capacity is astonishing, Epi, but that doesn’t make you awesome. My feats of strength, on the other hand, are nothing but awesome.

                    7. I want to read about how this tea “works” in future threads from you all. I may have to join the club…

                    8. Awesome? No. Exceptional? Possibly. Anomalous? Definitely!

                    9. If there’s one thing we can always agree on, it’s that drugs are awesome.

                      Yes. But it’s times like these that really make me pissed that I have hypertension. No tea for me…

                    10. I wonder if they will ever catch on that a sudden run on their product is due to a prohibition story at Reason H&R?

                    11. From the customer reviews:

                      Caused me to lose job opportunity, April 10, 2010

                      Unbeknownst to be, this product is strong enough in its natural coca leaf form to cause you to test positive for cocaine use in a drug test. I just lost a job opportunity today thanks to my husband putting the contents of one or two tea bags in an eight cup pot of coffee in the morning and only drinking one cup per day. I am so disappointed. This is essentially an illegal product, so don’t believe the literature out there that says that coca in its natural form is different from the processed form and therefore not a drug. You will test positive for cocaine use. BEWARE!

                2. I agree given the legal disclaimer:

                  “Legal Disclaimer
                  Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on our website. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. Please see our full disclaimer below.”

                3. “contains alkaloids” hilarious!

                4. “contains alkaloids”

                  Hilarious. I’m pretty sure it’s a winner.

                5. From one of the three comments:
                  “It’s full of coca nutrients that give you energy.”

                  LMAO…nutrients…is that what we’re calling them these days?

            2. We’ll see how this tea compares to the stuff I’m…yeah, you know.

              1. Those that are trying, please give a review once you get. I will be very interested to find out.

                Might have to have a real tea party, lol

      2. One of my favorite profs in college spent a lot of time in Bolivia researching the cocaleros. While there, he chewed, drank, and freaking brushed his teeth with coca leaves, in addition to recreational uses. Goddamn academics get all the fun.

      3. I’d prefer not to have to go on a trip.

        1. Unless you like ruins, coca tea is pretty much all Peru has going for it. And the trip would still be completely worth it.

          1. Lake Titicaca is just a homonym for your usual Friday night activities, I guess.

            1. Did you just call Warty a homo?

            2. I do not nym homos, you eh-saying Little American.

              Lake Titicaca is pretty cool though, as long as you can tolerate Jap tourists. Oh, and destitute little peasant children going apeshit with joy when you give them pens and paper and little things like that.

              1. South America is really high on my list of places to travel. Where else did you go? I hear Argentina has great beef, wine, and hot men, and you’re a connoisseur of all three, right?

                1. I dunno about hot men. We got bought by an Argentine conglomerate. All the men I’ve seen so far are kind of weedy little scruffy dudes, but maybe you’re into that.

                2. I went to Peru and Bolivia, saw all the ruins and whatnot. Cuzco is especially cool, since it’s mostly still the Inka city. I should go back down there and hike the Inka trail. Every so often, tourists doing that get kidnapped and held for ransom by the Shining Path, so that would be pretty fun.

                  And yes, I do want to go to Argentina for some hot beef.

                  1. Dude, even if the rentboys are as weedy and scruffy as T seems to think, you can still hire one to carry your shit while you hike. Patagonia looks so fucking beautiful it’s unreal.

                    1. “…hire one to carry your shit while you hike”

                      Yes, but would he iron it?

              2. i need tipi for my bunghole, bungholio heheheheh m heheheheh

          2. Dude, the food. Gaston Acurio is a fucking magician. Anyone going to Lima should go to Astrid y Gaston. I had pork there that makes me cry when I think about it. It really was that good.

            That, and ruins.

            (My wife is Pervian)

            1. Also, since almost everyone is on the take, you could bribe a guard so you could punch Joran van der Sloot in the throat.

              You know, if you’re in to that sort of thing.

              1. I hope they kill him slow.

  9. So if you have a job that requires drug testing, be careful about 100 percent natural, caffeine-free, yet mysteriously energizing tea from Peru or Bolivia.

    It hardly seems necessary to point this out; but we *are* in America.

    1. So are we!

      1. Nosotros somos estadounidenses.

  10. But the rule regarding coca tea makes sense from a prohibitionist perspective.

    So, it doesn’t make ANY sense?

    Hang on, i have to go achieve the perspective of a desert lizard…..

    Yeah, doesn’t make sense from there either? Maybe if i become that crack-rock over there on the ground…

    1. oh, and, “thank god they don’t make a coca bagel!”

      (ps, go fuckyourself Seinfeld.)

    2. “So, it doesn’t make ANY sense?”

      Correct. The prohibitionist perspective does not make any sense.

    1. Careful, you don’t want to end up like Jim Hogshire.

    2. Apparently you can make it from poppy seeds bought from the grocery store.

      Far out.

  11. Its weird and complicated. Technically you could fail a piss test from drinking enough Red Bull Simply Colas or Agwa De Bolivia Coca Liqeuer, they are made in Europe using coca leaves that contain cocaine. Coca tea is sold throughout the US but they are all technically illegal. According to the federal Controlled Substance Act decocainized leaves are legal, but their definition of decocainized is so strict that it pretty much has to be TOTALLY decocainized*. If you’ve ever experimented with even the “decocainized” teas/leaves you know they still retain anesthetic effects, and scientific tests have proven they still contain a significant amount of cocaine. Technically the only product on the market that meets the legal definition of decocainized are Coca-Cola products. They get their coca from Stepan Company, who seperates all of the cocaine and ecognine at its Mayfield, NJ plant. The decocainized leaves are sold to Coca-Cola and the cocaine is sold to the phamraceutical industry (yes cocaine is schedule II and still in use). Coca leaves make an excellent tea, chew, liqueur, and smoke. The hypocrisy is great, the government is approving the sale of cocaine containing products from more well known corporations, yet hassles foreign coca tea and the ethnic shops that sell it. I believe in total drug legalization but if we want to look for easy first steps we should look at coca leaf, opium poppies, hemp, and marijuana. But government does not listen to reason easily. I love the coca leaf, praise be to the coca mama ๐Ÿ˜‰

    *US Controlled Substance Act – Schedule II
    Coca leaves (9040) and any salt, compound, derivative or preparation of coca leaves (including Cocaine (9041) and Ecgonine (9180) and their salts, isomers, derivatives and salts of isomers and derivatives), and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation thereof which is chemically equivalent or identical with any of these substances, except that the substances shall not include decocainized coca leaves or extraction of coca leaves, whhch[sic] extractions do not contain cocaine or ecgonine.

    Part D — Offenses and Penalties
    (I) coca leaves, except coca leaves and extracts of coca leaves from which cocaine, ecgonine, and derivatives of ecgonine or their salts have been removed;

    (III) ecgonine, its derivatives, their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers; or

    (IV) any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of any of the substances referred to in subclauses (I) through (III);

    1. oops, that should read Maywood, NJ, not Mayfield.

      1. And wanted to add that coca leaves, even if decocainized would still have nicotine in them. Coca leaf cigarettes used to be sold in the US, an herbal cig that delivers cocaine and nicotine, sounds perfect.

        1. I have to thank Hacha. I’ve never been so sure of the Coca-CornSyrup-Conspiracy ever before.

    2. Technically Coca-Cola is still illegal because it still contains an occasional molecule of cocaine.

      1. Yeah but the amounts of cocaine and ecognine in Coca-Cola products are undetectable by government tests. Red Bull Simply Cola, Agwa de Bolivia, and coca leaf teas would test positive for cocaine and ecognine.

      2. It contains more than a molecule when I drink it with the the same straw I used to…yeah that.

  12. However, Inca Kola, as far as I know, remains coca-free.

    1. But is it Kola free? One would hope, based on the name. But can anyone trust names anymore?

      1. Who cares? It’s just damn tasty. Goes great with Ecuadoran food.

  13. But if you are a customs agent, carry ongo suck a dick for coke, as usual.

  14. Far be it from me to defend the ridiculous drug testing policies that have been foisted on employers by the federal government

    Not so sure this particular drug testing policy is “ridiculous” – we’re talking about people who operate vehicles weighing up to 80,000 pounds – and sometimes more – on the public roadways at high speeds. I’d rather not have those trucks operated by regular recreational drug users.

    I know, I know – if he wants to get stoned or high off the job, what business is it of his employer or the fed gov? Yup, I have to agree there. I guess the question is how do you assure he does it only off the job and doesn’t climb into the cab of the big rig after a night of binging and is now all hung over, still buzzing, etc.? Or is the position, “oh well, let him drive stoned and then he’ll have to deal with the consequences”?

    Or is the beef more with the specific requirements of the drug test? Or with the testing method or procedure used?

    1. So you’ve never done cocaine, I see, because you just equated a cocaine high to being “stoned”. Maybe you should try and be knowledgeable about things you opine about. Oh, I guess that’s too much to ask. Carry on with your stupidity.

      1. Not to pile on, but there’s also a big difference between drinking some coca tea and snorting half an 8-ball.

        1. Agreed, also a big difference between drinking some coca tea perhaps days ago, and snorting half an 8-ball.

          1. Also drinking 10 cups of coffee quickly in short time may be bad.

            1. Tell me about it.

            2. Clean you out

        2. Very true. You’re probably a better driver after half a ball than after sipping some coca-tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Not that I’d know or anything…

      2. Thank you, Epi, for your well-reasoned and thoughtful response to my inquiries. Let me know when you actually develop one.

        I fail to see where I “equated” a coke high with being “stoned.” I was speaking generally said, “if he wants to get stoned or high off the job, what business is it of his employer or the fed gov?” I meant whether he did coke, smoked weed, drank booze, whatever, so I said “stoned or high” -whatever. Mea culpa if I failed to use your preferred slang or terminology to correctly describe the effect of the drug.

        All of the points raised here go to the questions I asked, but none begin to actually address them. The points raised are why I asked the questions I did.

        Sometimes I wonder if half the commenters here actually READ what people post, and instead respond to what they think the person said – you’re all far to willing to jump the shit out of someone, particularly if you get the slightest whiff that the person might not fully and completely agree with your perspective on every little position that only the truly faithful, purest of libertarians must hold if they are to be accepted “of the body.”

        Talk about “carrying on with stupidity” – go back and read what I actually wrote and the questions I asked.

        In sum, fuckin’ a, people.

        1. I “equated” a coke high with being “stoned.”

          Dude, you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about… being stoned and doing coke are completely different experiences….

          ๐Ÿ˜‰

        2. WTF, I read what you wrote. While I thought you had a valid point, I wanted to point out that someone could test positive for cocaine while using it in a manner that wouldn’t impact work safety, even if they were using it on the job.

          As for your question, I could counter – should we start testing people who use heavy equipment for alcohol use? How can we tell if they’re only drinking away from the job?

    2. I know, I know – if he wants to get stoned or high off the job, what business is it of his employer or the fed gov? Yup, I have to agree there. I guess the question is how do you assure he does it only off the job and doesn’t climb into the cab of the big rig after a night of binging and is now all hung over, still buzzing, etc.?

      How do you do this with respect to alcohol, a legal intoxicant that is equal or worse to most illegal intoxicants in degrading driving ability, and much more widely used? I believe only other CNS depressants such as opiates, benzos, barbiturates and even benadryl can equal alcohol in degrading driving ability. Marijuana is less dangerous, and stimulants likely improve driving ability. Not sure about hallucinogens, but friends :} with experience would not suggest using them while driving.

      1. I dunno… the Grateful Dead’s roadies sure did a hell of a lot of long-haul trucking on copious amounts of LSD, among other things…

      2. I dunno… the Grateful Dead’s roadies sure did a hell of a lot of long-haul trucking on copious amounts of LSD, among other things…

        1. holy shit, my posts are leaving trails man!

      3. Do the drug tests not also test for alcohol or metabolytes?

        See, I’m asking here. ASKING.

        1. No, they don’t.

        2. My understanding is that unlike cocaine or THC, alcohol washes out of the system pretty quickly and can’t be tested for in the urine as effectively.

          1. Paula I don’t know why everybody says you’re dumb.

          2. It can be tested for in hair.

          3. You can test for elevated liver enzymes, particularly GGT, ALT, AST etc. which suggests possible alcohol use, but is by no means definitive. They use this for life insurance exams. There are many other causes of this besides alcohol.

    3. Next time you’re on the interstate, go into the rest stop or major truck stop bathroom and examine the top of the stainless steel toilet paper dispenser real close. Pay special attention to the crack between the dispenser and the wall. I’d rather have the truckers do a little toot than fall victim to highway hypnosis (even when they aren’t cooking the books).

      1. That’s Borax!

  15. Speaking of piss-tests; my friend the counterfeiter, while he was on parole, refused to eat at Wendy’s because he said the poppyseed rolls could cause a false positive.

    1. They often did. Allegedly, they’ve raised the threshhold of the test so it won’t happen anymore, but I were scheduled for a piss test, I’d avoid poppy seed bagels.

      1. With my daily medications and the occasional stuff I have a script for, I’d probably test positive for damn near everything. Assuming my urine didn’t fight back when they tried to test it.

        1. I wonder if something like lidocaine or novocaine would trigger a false positive for cocaine.

          1. They’re administered directly into the tissue; I doubt much gets into your urine.

          2. Not likely, lidocaine is an amide, novocaine is an ester of aminobenzoic acid, while cocaine is an ester of benzoic acid.

            1. Thanks – I’m not really familiar with the chemistry of any of the above.

    2. There is morphine in poppy seeds. According to Erowid, if you soak several pounds of them you can extract enough to get high.

  16. No mention of the fact that a substance that is a “great coffee substitute”, “energy booster” and “acts against fatigue” would likely not diminish but rather improve driving ability.

    Piloting a plane requires similar motor skills, but is more dificult than driving. The US Air Force and Navy give pilots amphetamines to improve long duration flying.

    Amphetamines are a “great coffee substitute”, “energy booster” and “acts against fatigue” in a pharmacologically simalar way to cocaine, I believe thru dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition.

    1. The military does still give out dextroamphetamine, but its much more common for them to give out the newer, less hardcore stimulant provigil.

      1. True. Provigil has little of the ‘classic’ stimulant effect (increased heartbeat, blood pressure, etc.), it just seems to make you not need to sleep.

        Do they also use ritalin or cylert?

        1. Possibly ritalin, cylert is no longer prescribed in the US. My military buddies have only told me of dexedrine and provigil being in use these days.

          1. Wanted to add that provigil isn’t so bad, I mean yeah it is weak compared to the hardcore stimulants. But a high dose of provigil or the isolated provigil isomer found in nuvigil, which is twice as strong, still give a stimulant buzz and keep you awake. But it doesn’t match up to “the real thing”.

            1. The best thing about it isn’t the high, it’s that your higher-level brain functions stay sharp for extended periods. Typically, stimulants don’t have this effect. Amphetamines will keep you awake, but you still turn into a retard after about 20 hours awake.

  17. “You kids are disgusting. Hanging around here all day, reeking of popcorn and lollipops.”

  18. What about Yerba Mate?

    1. Many coca teas are mixed with Yerba Mate. But Yerba Mate itself is an herbal tea made from the leaves of the caffeine containing holly plant Ilex paraguariensis.

      1. Thank you!

        I am calmer now, less concerned about keeping my job.

        1. That should raise suspicions.

  19. I’d rather not have those trucks operated by regular recreational drug users.

    If you can find three big rig drivers in the whole country who don’t drink beer on weekends, I’d be shocked.

    1. Ironically, the only one I ever knew didn’t, but that was no doubt the exception.

      1. He did drink gallons of coffee and chain smoke cigarettes.

  20. I do cocaine

      1. Is it just me, or is Rockso a spoof of David Lee Roth?

        1. Oh, yes. Oh, yes, yes, yes.

          CA-CA-CA-CA-YEEEEEEAAAAH

  21. And yes, I do want to go to Argentina for some hot beef.

    I don’t like the sound of that…

  22. Wow sounds like this dude got a raw deal! 20+ years on the job? Wow.

    Lou
    http://www.anonymity-online.net.tc

  23. Poppy seeds on your bagel or Kaiser roll can cause you to pop positive for opiates.

    So what if we run over a few shitload of innocents on our drive to the mythical drug free society. It’s for the greater good.

    I still want the president, the VP, every congresscritter, their staffs and all appointed government officials drugs tested randomly along the lines of the military program. Until that happens, fuck the hypocritical assholes.

    1. The only problem with that is then you’d be even less likely to get intelligent, independent thinkers going into politics. It’s no surprise that most jobs that require drug testing are blue collar jobs.

    2. Meanwhile, I believe that oxycodone and hydrocodone don’t trigger the opiate test. (IIRC, it only,looks for morphine, codeine, and a metabolite of morphine).

      However, I’m not 100% certain of this.

      1. The standard drug screens will show up positive, as they are all semi-synthetic opiates. However, if the test is confirmed with GC/MS it should show up negative for morphine and codeine. Though, many times you won’t get the luxury of having it sent for a GC/MS confirmation test.

        1. And even then, once it shows up positive on the simple drug screen they may opt to decide to screen it for opioids and you will fail.

          1. Thanks again, especially since I was putting bad information out.

    3. When I was in the Navy I experienced a two week period during which I was selected for random urinalysis 3 times. As an example of what the military program is like.

      1. If the testing is truly random somebody in the 3 million servicemembers is going to have their number come up a ridiculous number of times. Someone else could sail through a whole career without getting tested. Large numbers and all that shit.

        1. There were annual tests as well. At least on the Nimitz. I think the random ones were done by the last or first number of your SSN or something like that.

    4. I still want the president, the VP, every congresscritter, their staffs and all appointed government officials drugs tested randomly along the lines of the military program. Until that happens, fuck the hypocritical assholes.

      QFMFT. And, “swear under oath” about every psychoactive substance they have *ever* ingested or witnessed being ingested.

      1. When they instituted it for Florida Dept. of Corrections, the Secretary was the first one tested. It may have been purely symbolic since he knew it was coming, but I believe he made sure his name stayed on the random list.

  24. I’m skeptical that a truck driver testing positive for a stimulant such as cocaine got it from drinking tea.

    1. I wouldn’t be skeptical.

      Identification and quantitation
      of alkaloids in coca tea
      by
      Jenkins AJ, Llosa T, Montoya I, Cone EJ
      Addiction Research Center,
      NIDA/NIH, Baltimore,
      MD 21224, USA.
      Forensic Sci Int 1996 Feb 9; 77(3):179-89

      ABSTRACT

      The consumption of coca tea is a common occurrence in many South American countries. The tea is often packaged in individual servings as tea bags which contain approximately 1 g of plant material. The consumption of coca tea leads to ingestion of cocaine and other alkaloids; however, there is little information available regarding the pharmacological or toxicological effects that result from consumption of coca tea. We performed a series of studies with coca tea bags from two South American countries, Peru and Bolivia. The alkaloidal content of the ‘coca leaf’ in coca tea bags was determined by two different extraction methods: Soxhlet extraction with methanol (exhaustive extraction), and mechanical agitation with methanol. Extracts were purified by solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Coca tea prepared from Peruvian and Bolivian coca tea bags was also analyzed by SPE-GC/MS assay. In addition, urine specimens were analyzed from an individual who consumed one cup of Peruvian coca tea and one cup of Bolivian coca tea on separate occasions. Urine samples were analyzed by immunoassay (TDx) and SPE-GC/MS. Analysis of coca tea bags and coca tea indicated that cocaine, benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester and trans-cinnamoylcocaine were present in varying quantities. With exhaustive extraction, an average of 5.11 mg, and 4.86 mg of cocaine per tea bag were found in coca leaf from Peru and Bolivia, respectively. The average amounts of benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester in Peruvian coca leaf were 0.11 and 1.15 mg, and in Bolivian coca leaf were 0.12 and 2.93 mg per tea bag, respectively. trans-cinnamoylcocaine was found in trace amounts in Peruvian tea bags and 0.16 mg/tea bag of Bolivian tea. When tea was prepared, an average of 4.14 mg of cocaine was present in a cup of Peruvian coca tea and 4.29 mg of cocaine was present in Bolivian tea. Following the consumption of a cup of Peruvian tea by one individual, a peak urine benzoylecgonine concentration of 3940 ng/ml occurred 10 h after ingestion. Consumption of Bolivian coca tea resulted in a peak benzoylecgonine concentration of 4979 ng/ml at 3.5 h. The cumulative urinary excretion of benzoylecgonine after approximately 48 h, determined by GC/MS, was 3.11 mg and 2.69 mg after consumption of Peruvian and Bolivian coca tea, respectively. This study demonstrated that coca tea bags and coca tea contain a significant amount of cocaine and cocaine-related alkaloids and the consumption of a single cup of Peruvian or Bolivian coca tea produces positive drug test results for cocaine metabolites.

    2. I dunno, I’ve had coca tea before, it can pep you up pretty noticeably.

      The real unlucky thing here is timing; the dude would have been fine on the following day.

  25. So what’s the former truck driver doing now?

    1. 8-balls

    2. I’m looking for a real good attorney.

  26. . For example, “pure powdered coca leaves” from Bolivia sold on Amazon are promoted as a “great coffee substitute” that is “caffeine free,” an “energy booster” and “antidepressant” that “acts against fatigue” and is “excellent for diets” as an “appetite suppressant.” But the only components of coca it mentions are “potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins and all elements necessary in a daily diet.” Hmm, what’s missing from that list? Coca’s stimulating, energizing, mood-lifting, appetite-suppressing effects do not come from potassium.

    Sounds like something I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on. Life would be a lot more interesting if the control freaks stayed out of our way.

  27. Picked up an order of 50 bags from Amazon to give it a try. Found this site: http://www.cocatea.com/producto.php?idp=1400001003 which ships it in from Lima Peru. At least the person in the above review got their product after getting it through customs. I have to believe there is more good stuff in their products than anything available via Amazon….

  28. Follow up: picked up 250g of the dried tea leaves from Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet, but I did try the free samples of ‘Lupi Mate de Coca’ and ‘Mate Windsor Trimate’ along with a Coca hard candy. The hard candy tasted great, but the teas just taste like chamomile. None of them produced any effect other than that produced by drinking chamomile tea, so I’m going to guess this is much ado about nothing and I just paid waaaay too much for some tea.

    1. you r exactlly correct,it is nothing more then drinking a cup of coffe,mw

  29. Coca leaf tea, and coca leaves have to be altered/ proccesed to make cocaine chlorhydrate which is street cocaine, and is ILLEGAL. Drinking tea is NOT illegal!! Cocaine is a derivative of coca leaves, which means somebody has to do something to it to make it illegal.

  30. also to all u good folks when u get that pee test,they dont test for the actual drug,they test for a metabolite your body will produce in responds to the chemical alkaloid,sooo is it really a drug test,hmmmm,also class 2 substance is listed as addictive and high risk of dependency ,coca tea does not meet the critieria of a class 2 substance.ALSO ,ALL TEAS in prepared form,ie tea bag form are not an illigal food/drink to have or bring into this country.mw

  31. it is also important to point out,his company did not have to fire him,d.o.t. guidline state he is suppose to be reviewed by a s.a.p. conselor ,take a class,be return to work.(department of motor vehicles and substance abuse professional,)this company did not follow d,o,t, guidelines,mw
    )

  32. BEST coca tea at http://www.mysteriousbolivian.com they have from decocainized to full alkaloids. Shipping from the USA

  33. One very important issue here is,with all due respect reason magazine,no, there is not cocaine in coca leaves.They do not test you for cocaine in these randoms,they test for a metabolite that is produced from your liver with metabolization of coca,not cocaine.There is 1 molecule,isotropine isomer they both have in common.The chemical formula for cocaine is no where close to that of the coca leaf in its natural form.There has to be a chemical reaction to accure in order to produce cocaine chlorhydrate,street white powder cocaine,.This reaction will ONLY happen with a acid/achohol base methodoly of extraction.Which btw is the exact same ingredients they use to test for cocaine.Therefore in the laws of nature,are they making cocaine to prove its cocaine???hmmmmm?????So please as i know your organization does very good work,please make sure you truly have the facts before putting info out there that will futher give aid to the prohibitionist in this country.A word of wisdom,dont ever trust the government funded studies at all.They have very succesfully proved a lie,wm

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