What happened to the “crack babies”?

English: An intubated female premature infant ...

English: An intubated female premature infant born prematurely 26 weeks 6 days gestation, 990 grams. Photo taken at approximately 24 hours after birth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Dirk Hansen reports the good news about “crack babies”:

 

In a paper authored by Hurt, Laura M Betancourt, and others, the investigators write: “It is now well established that gestational cocaine exposure has not produced the profound deficits anticipated in the 1980s and 1990s, with children described variably as joyless, microcephalic, or unmanageable.” The authors do not rule out “subtle deficits,” but do not find evidence for them in functional outcomes like school or transition to adulthood.

 

And, the bad news:

 

As FitzGerald writes: “The years of tracking kids have led Hurt to a conclusion she didn’t see coming. ‘Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine,'” Hurt said.

 

He asks, “How did this urban legend get started?”

 

In the 1980s, during the Reagan-Bush years, Americans were confronted with yet another drug “epidemic.” The resulting media fixation on crack provided a fascinating look at what has been called “drug education abuse.” This new drug war took off in earnest after Congress and the media discovered that an inexpensive, smokable form of cocaine was appearing in prodigious quantities in some of America’s larger cities. Crack was a refinement to freebasing, and a drug dealer’s dream. The “rush” from smoking crack was more potent, but even more transient, than the short-lived high from nasal ingestion.

 

 

 

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