Cocaine, drug panics, and "lIlodernity" At the turn of the century, cocaine was regarded in Britain as a useful element of the pharmacopoeia, rather than a miraculous one. Risks associated with its use were recognized, but were perceived to be largely confined to a particular category of person. In this perspective, the typical cocaine victim was highly strung, vulnerable to mental or intellectual pressure, and of relatively high social standing. Cocaine was seen as a menace to such individuals, but not to society.