Cocoa for snorting raises concerns

Monday, July 10, 2017

We heard of a drug dealer whose defense included the fact that the prosecution had charged him with possession with intent to sell a substance derived from the cacao bean — the source of chocolate — instead of coca — the plant cocaine is manufactured from.

It didn’t work, as we recall, but that prosecutor could some day be correct if a new product proves to be as harmful as some people believe.

“Coco Loko” is a snortable cacao-based powder plus taurine and B6, marketed by a Florida company which says it is a stimulant that provides an endorphin rush as well as a serotonin rush, which it says provides both energy and focus.

The company’s CEO said the powder is “probably equal to about two energy drinks,” promised to provide “a little pep in your step, somethin’ extra to party and makes you get in the mood to enjoy your night.”

It’s gained enough popularity to draw the attention of the medical community, including a sinus specialist, Dr. Jordan Josephson, who told the Daily Mail Online it probably won’t give you a high but probably could lead to infection, obstruction and sinus problems down the line.

Because it includes sugar, it will probably create a sludge, blocking the nasal passageway and keeping sinuses from doing their job, which can harm the lungs, he said.

It’s also drawn the attention of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to look into the product.

“This suspect product has no clear health value,” he said in a statement. “I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses.”

It remains to be seen how popular or dangerous Coco Loko or similar products turn out to be, but snorting cocoa is only the tip of an iceberg of substance abuse problems that won’t be solved by another federal regulation.

Young people need the full support of their family, friends and society to stay away from drugs and focus on a lifestyle of positive activities that will be rewarding and fulfilling in the long run.

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