National Geographic : 1989 Jan
fighting for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police tells me technology could never go to the heart of the problem-corruption. The big conference document hardly mentioned this. At least he's not totally pessimistic. By the time this article is published, he says, negotia tions may have been concluded for a new trea ty, to supplement the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It should provide for trac t ing those billions in drug profits through the ...... world's financial system and seizing them. "We've got to get at all that money." But how, even with new laws in effect? Investiga tors move with the speed of legal papers while traffickers shift their loot from country to country with the speed of telex machines ... A "magical substance," Sigmund Freud pronounced in 1884. Like many doctors, he saw a host ofuses for cocaine, earlier isolated by German chemists. The U. S. Hay Fever Association endorsed it as a decongestant. Sears, Roebuck sold an energizing cocaine wine. Today the drug remains invaluable as a local anesthetic and blood-vessel constrictor. Swabs soaked with a cocaine solution prepare a patient for nose surgery (below). The world buys pharmaceutical cocaine, or the coca leaves to produce it, from Peru's National Coca Enterprise. Three sepa rately guarded keys (above) are needed to unlock the vault (right).