The media and politicians who were proclaiming that an entire generation of “crack babies” would be nothing but ruined lives must have been… smoking crack.

Of course, we all know that the “crack baby” scare was a complete myth, but it was an extremly powerful one at the time. And the basic idea behind it continues to resurface from time to time, as someone proclaims that another drug is going to cause a generation of zombie babies.

I had not realized that the study of “crack babies” had actually still been continuing until reading this article: ‘Crack baby’ study ends with unexpected but clear result

The study actually followed a group of over 200 low-income families, half of whom had babies while the mother was on crack, and half without drugs being involved. Followed for 23 years.

The researchers consistently found no significant differences between the cocaine-exposed children and the controls.

[thanks, darkcycle]

Someone should make a sci-fi movie, set in the present day, showing the world as it would be if all the scare stories prohibitionists promoted were actually true.

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41 Responses to Cracked

  1. claygooding says:

    “”Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine,” Hurt said at her May lecture””

    I think the same thing could be said for nearly any drug.

    Individuals With PTSD Top List of Those Registered For Medical Marijuana

    People suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so far represent the largest group of Connecticut residents who have registered with the Consumer Protection Department to use medical marijuana.

    Of the 735 people who have registered with the Consumer Protection Department to use medical marijuana, 212 name PTSD as their primary qualifying condition, according to a report from the Office of Legislative Research, which used statistics from early July. ‘snip’

    Dr. Carolyn Drazinic, assistant professor at the UConn School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and president of the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, said many psychiatrists in the state were surprised that the disorder was added to the list of ailments that qualify someone to use medical marijuana.

    Although there are studies suggesting cannabis helps treat many of the illnesses included in the law, Drazinic said that is not the case with PTSD. ‘snip’

    if studies support the use of marijuana as a sleep aid then that is one of the main symptoms of PTSD,sleep disorders ranging from insomnia to disturbing dreams that marijuana stops,,at least for me.

  2. ezrydn says:

    WE, with PTSD, have a “sticky” problem. Bad thoughts seem to “stick” to us. Intro Cannabis. Those thoughts immediately become “slippery”, not anchoring in your mind. And they slip away, leaving you serene. And that, for whatever reason, is illegal in most locales. If you’ve not lived it, you have no clue.

    As for the crack babies, I’ve been questioning the claim ever since it was originally made. It was knee-jerk BS then and is now proven BS.

    • claygooding says:

      I have to keep that slippery reference,,that is as good a description as it gets,,but on the sleep aid,,if I get proper rest the “bad thoughts” seem to lessen a lot.

  3. divadab says:

    If you’re coming up with a marketing program for more police spending, you have to catch peoples’ deep prejudices.

    The “Crack babies” meme triggered major supporting prejudices: 1) Racism against black people; 2) racism against “welfare queens (a subset of racism against black people); 3) hatred of drug dealers; and 4) a weird protective feeling towards the babies themselves (the same motivation anti-abortionists use to justify their cruelty to the mothers).

    The marketers don’t care about truth, only about continuing revenues. Isn’t it nice to know your government is comprised of the worst kind of lying flimflam artists?

    Thanks, Pete, for the info. It sure makes it hard to write my quarterly tax installment check, though.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      You’ve just put the whole motivation for the war on drugs into a nutshell. Nobody likes to admit when they’ve been conned but we all have, and many continue to be so.

  4. allan says:

    hmmm… we/they’ll never get as excited about the real epidemic of poverty and hunger as we/they will about some make believe monster-under-the-bed.

    Ooooh… crack babies! All those fake first hand horror stores… ‘I had a nurse friend telling me about the torturous withdrawals these innocent newborn crack babies are suffering thru at our local hospital…’.

    I’m sorry Pete but… I like remaining civil and not using profanity (‘for the church’) but fuck all that prohibitionist propaganda shit. Fuck the damn Prohibitionists. Somebodies w/ a profile really need to get a case of the mung sai and just start leveling very massive volleys of truth and righteous indignation upon named Prohibitionist heads.

    It’s time for kickin’ ass and taking names. To paraphrase an old chowhall ditty, flush twice, it’s a long way to Washington, DC.

  5. Servetus says:

    The crack baby hysteria may have been intended as a prophylactic lie to keep expectant mothers from using crack, since knowledge of the true effects of crack weren’t totally known at the time. The unknown factor quickly changed when crack-baby births showed no differing symptomologies, and when Mother Jones magazine ran an expose in 1995 that called crack babies a “crackpot idea.”

    Meanwhile, loathsome members of the religious right and neo-Confederates, in this case drug czar William Bennett, were all too happy to use the crack scapegoat to aid in justifying mandatory minimums, and to falsely claim that one hit of crack was all that’s needed to become addicted.

    Crack and cocaine were cast as two separate drugs. The 100-to-1 ratio of crack-to-cocaine sentencing targeted black Americans, as it was intended. Later, Congress reduced the ratio to 18-to-1, so that today’s crack cocaine laws are only 18% as racist as they once were, an improvement by government standards.

    The harm of government induced hysteria, resulting in mothers being imprisoned and families broken up, is not something the U.S. government apologizes for, nor something it compensates its victims for, but remains part of the history of racism in America, along with other examples such as the Tuskagee Institute’s experiments with syphilis that were once conducted on black Americans without their knowledge or consent. Acting on worthless assumptions is what all illicit drug laws do, thus allowing the bigot-based community to attack the reality-based community on a mere whim.

    • allan says:

      aye… the crack epidemic that wasn’t, the laws that rose from those lies (damn, that baking soda is dangerous!) and the accompanying social prejudices have caused exponentially more and greater harms than cocaine ever could.

      And if the white folk didn’t have this penchant for taking something beneficial like coca and turning it into something problematic like cocaine… poppies to heroin… symbiotic trade and commerce into a humanity sucking drive for massive wealth and power…

      Tuskegee, Tulia… I’m pissed enough as an old white guy, can’t imagine how I’d feel were I an old black guy. Lots of friends and pitchforks and torches come to mind…

      Anybody notice Joe Biden bein’ really, really invisible in all of this recently rekindled racial discussion? Joe’s record on drug laws leaves him some ‘splainin’ to do. But here, let Radley explain:

      Biden has sponsored more damaging drug war legislation than any Democrat in Congress. Hate the way federal prosecutors use RICO laws to take aim at drug offenders? Thank Biden. How about the abomination that is federal asset forfeiture laws? Thank Biden. Think federal prosecutors have too much power in drug cases? Thank Biden. Think the title of a “Drug Czar” is sanctimonious and silly? Thank Biden, who helped create the position (and still considers it an accomplishment worth boasting about). Tired of the ridiculous steroids hearings in Congress? Thank Biden, who led the effort to make steroids a Schedule 3 drug, and has been among the blowhardiest of the blowhards when it comes to sports and performance enhancing drugs. Biden voted in favor of using international development aid for drug control (think plan Columbia, plan Afghanistan, and other meddling anti-drug efforts that have only fostered loathing of America, backlash, and unintended consequences). Oh, and he was also the chief sponsor of 2004′s horrendous RAVE Act.

      • claygooding says:

        I already hated him because he was on the committee that wrote the ONDCP policy,,your just adding more reasons to dance on this man’s grave when he passes,,birds will sing and mankind will be better off from that time on.

      • Jean Valjean says:

        I hope Biden runs in a primary at least. His record as a drug warrior will have to be thoroughly aired and the voting majority on re-legalization will get a chance to remove him. This should get the attention of other prohibitionist Dems like Hillary…

      • DdC says:

        Not only did slime-ball Joe coin the term drug czar. His lies and weaseling got the RAVE AX tacked onto the Amber Alert bill. After failing on its own, three times. He then had to lie and use crank as the test ingredient to fudge the results for ecstasy. Along with the bogus commercials creating the hysteria. About the status quo for the drug worriers.

        United Nations Drug Report Disappointing XTC v Meth!

        The crack babies were the same as those XTC deaths they claimed but never retracted the test results until the RAVE AX passed. Tip O’Neil started the disparity in sentencing if memory serves. The hype of Lynn Bias who died of cocaine, not crack. But it was enough to include drugs with the NRA sponsored mandatory minimum sentencing. Written for crimes committed with guns. Just like the Patriot Ax or the Higher Education Ax bastardized by Souder and signed by Clinton. These Neocon fascist think up this crap and it seems the GOP puts it out there knowing the Dems will freak out and then the Dems sign it or the Dems write it and the GOP freaks out. Like the Patriot Ax written by Clinton, protested by Ashcraft and then signed by Junior Boosh. All making huge tax paid profits in the prison paraphernalia and private caging industry. Now with big bucks lobbying for all 50 states with max cap provisions. Requiring more criminals damn it! If we don’t have enough, make some with bogus Ganja laws. A recipe for disaster since disasters is what they sell.

        NRA History of Mandatory Minimums

        Slavery: Another Fine Product Still Made in the USA!

        Kochroach & Aleech…

        A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.
        John F. Kennedy

  6. Viggo Piggsko Flatmark says:


    Read about a DA in Oklahoma that had authorized a private company to stop drivers for drug searches – for a small percentage of the funds seized.

    Mr. Jason Hicks signed a one-of-its-kind contract in January to pay a Guthrie-based company 25 percent of any funds seized during actual training days. He agreed to pay the company 10 percent of funds seized by his task force on other days when the company trainers weren’t present.

    • allan says:

      man, these people be kuh-ra-a-a-zee. Excellent snag there Viggo.

      His prosecutors have dropped all criminal cases arising from the drug stops, The Oklahoman was told. Some seized money is being returned. The attorney general’s office is investigating one complaint some seized funds went missing.

      “I’m shocked,” a Caddo County special judge said July 2.

      The judge spoke at a hearing after learning the private company’s owner pulled over a pregnant driver along Interstate 40 and questioned her even though he is not a state-certified law enforcement officer.

      “For people to pull over people on I-40 without that license is shocking to me,” Special Judge David A. Stephens said.

      The judge said he hoped Joe David, owner of Desert Snow LLC, wouldn’t do it again.

      “If you do, I hope to see you soon, wearing orange,” the judge said, referring to the color of jail clothes in Caddo County.

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    Such a science fiction story as proposed would be boring in the extreme. All we’d see is a dead planet that very much resembles the surface of the moon. Hysterical rhetoric is not a valid basis for the formation of public policy, and neither is the potential result of that hysterical rhetoric a valid basis for an interesting piece of fiction.


    A man in North Carolina is using a Timothy Leary defense to charges of cultivating cannabis. North Carolina is one of the States that requires vendors and users to buy a tax stamp in order to illegally possess cannabis.

    The man in the article linked directly above has been buying those tax stamps diligently since 2011. He’s now arguing that the State had given de facto permission to own the cannabis because the taxes were paid. The police have verified that he’s been under investigation since shortly after “his first purchase of tax stamps and filing of articles of incorporation obtained from the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State, explaining his business and its educational and scientific goals.”

    Just a reminder that Timothy Leary’s very real ordeal of getting busted for possession back in the middle of the 1960s went all the way to the SCOTUS which struck down the unconstitutional Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. [an amusing aside — I’ve actually been asked 4 times how I know that the M.T.A. of 1937 was unconstitutional after posting that the law was struck down by the SCOTUS in Timothy Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 (1969)]

  8. Francis says:

    Someone should make a sci-fi movie, set in the present day, showing the world as it would be if all the scare stories prohibitionists promoted were actually true.

    Of course, even if we lived in that world, prohibition would still not be good policy. I’m reminded of that great William F. Buckley, Jr. quote:

    Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.

    I’d suggest that it can be generalized: even if one takes at face value every allegation about crack, heroin, PCP, LSD, meth, “bath salts,” or any other substance that has at some point been the scary drug du jour, criminal prohibition would still have done far more harm to far more people than the drugs themselves ever could.

  9. nick says:

    Nonsense. Crack babies most certainly are real, who do you think runs the Government?

  10. darkcycle says:

    Hey, you’re welcome, Pete. I knew about the Mother Jones article some years back, but it was news to me that the study had continued to the present day. And kudos to the brave researchers to posit one, obvious difference between these children and those on the safe side of the Normal Curve, as the cause. Many researchers would never go there.

  11. DdC says:

    What was the Law during the 526 day interim?
    That’s all the Ganja policy required… Nothing

    Leary v. United States – 395 U.S. 6 (decided May 19, 1969)

    May 19, 1969 is the 139th day of the year 1969 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 226 days remaining until the end of this year.

    October 27, 1970 is the 300th day of the year 1970 in the Gregorian calendar.

    Controlled Substances Act in effect on October 27, 1970

  12. strayan says:

    My god, if anyone has seen a baby born with fetal alcohol disorder they would rue the day mum picked up the bottle rather than the crack pipe.

  13. Freeman says:

    Our favorite crack-baby has recently developed stomach ailments as a result of over-analyzing statistics while desperately searching for a harm needle in the Colorado mmj kush-stack, and subsequently hyperventilating over the number of patients some pot doctors see in a day.

    Now comes another article on his blog reporting doctors seeing even higher numbers of patients in single days for procedures having nothing to do with marijuana physicals, but just as time-consuming (like colonoscopies and eye exams).

    The comment I left: Clean up on aisle 420! Bearded gentleman in a suit doubled over mumbling “It’s the Kush Doctors all over again!!!!”

    So far no outrage from our hero, nor any acknowledgement that maybe the kush doctor numbers aren’t out of line when compared to real numbers from other medical procedures.

    • darkcycle says:

      Nice catch. But you and Strayan got to remember to leave a little meat for the rest of us. By the time I got there all I found was the carcass.

      • darkcycle says:

        BTW, no wonder his stomach is bothering him. Nobody should try to eat that much crow at one sitting.

      • Freeman says:

        Right you are, dc. Problem is, it was all too easy! The meat just fell right off the bone (must’ve been smoked) and was just too tasty to resist!

  14. kaptinemo says:

    It’s been said that ‘a lie can travel around the world before truth gets its’ boots on’.

    The truth of that statement is readily apparent regarding drug prohibition. The media complicity in spreading those lies is also readily apparent…and they are never properly taken to task for disseminating those falsehoods. Particularly when it comes to Gub’mint pronouncements about the ‘drug du jour’ scares we’ve seen promulgated by that same Gub’mint. Back then it was crack; today, it’s ‘bath salts’.

    An example of media gullibility that remains with me to this day was the nonsensical ‘concern’ than banana peels were psychotropic. There was even a silly, stupid song on the radio about it.

    The ‘straights’ were getting their knickers in a wad about it until it was pointed out that it was all a hoax…and the media wound up with egg on its’ face. You’d think they’d learn, but to quote an iconic figure from a 1990’s film, “Stupid is as stupid does.” WRT to the media, given that it never seems to learn, the observation is especially relevant.

    • kaptinemo says:

      In an aside, a quote from one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century: “All governments are run by liars and no one should believe anything they say.”

      A pity that most of those professing to be journalists nowadays don’t take that advice to heart…

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Why are there people in Colorado getting busted for manufacturing synthetic “marijuana”?
      5 Larimer County residents charged with making, selling ‘spice’ using a chemical from China

      • divadab says:

        From Wikipedia: “Compared to THC, which is a partial agonist at CB1 receptors, JWH-018 (and many of its analogues) are full agonists. THC has been shown to inhibit GABA receptor neurotransmission in the brain via several pathways.[18][19] JWH-018 may cause intense anxiety, agitation, and, in rare cases (generally with non-regular JWH users), has been assumed to have been the cause of seizures and convulsions by inhibiting GABA neurotransmission more effectively than THC. Cannabinoid receptor full agonists may present serious dangers to the user when used to excess.[20]

        Various physical and psychological adverse effects have been reported from JWH-018 use. One study reported psychotic relapses and anxiety symptoms in well-treated patients with mental illness following JWH-018 inhalation.[21] Due to concerns about the potential of JWH-018 and other synthetic cannabinoids to cause psychosis in vulnerable individuals, it has been recommended that people with risk factors for psychotic illnesses (like a past or family history of psychosis) not use these substances.[22]”

  15. claygooding says:

    I am trying to compile a list of harms the government and it’s agents have used in their propaganda,,please feel free to add.

    It makes a black man think he is as good as a white man.
    When white women smoke it they date black men.
    Smoking marijuana causes the user to go insane and fly into fits of violence.
    Smoking marijuana causes testicular cancer.
    Smoking marijuana fries your brain like an egg in a skillet.
    Marijuana users are layabouts and a load on society.
    Marijuana use causes schizophrenia.
    Marijuana use causes men to grow breasts.
    Marijuana use causes a loss in IQ.
    Marijuana use can erase your memory.
    Marijuana use causes fits of uncontrollable laughter.
    Marijuana use by parents endangers they’re children.

    Amazing that 4000 years of written history doesn’t have one mention of harm from cannabis until after 1930 and they have multiplied since NIDA was created.

    • Nunavut Tripper says:

      You missed the most important harm…the gateway effect.
      Although after 45 years of usage I still can’t seem to find the damn gate. Maybe the fact that I have no memory,no IQ and am a screaming schizophrenic is the reason.

      My boobs are still OK though.

    • primus says:

      Loss of sex drive.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        I do think that it’s precious the way that prohibitionists have been keeping a sharp eye out to protect the integrity of America’s seminal fluid and semen.

    • DdC says:


      With numerous indexes for Magazines, Pulp Fiction Books, Old Radio Programs, Films, Comic books, Governmental Pamphlets etc. A Great Resource and Collectors Guide to Reefer Madness Era Lore and Collectibles.

  16. Duncan20903 says:


    Legalizing Marijuana — The Real Costs

    Has anyone else noticed that the prohibitionists appear to think that the word “real” is a synonym for a self serving fairy tale?

    • Freeman says:

      Yes indeed. I think it’s similar to declaring a blog to be the “reality-based community”. If you feel the need to explicitly declare the legitimacy of your reality, you’re probably covering for all the stuff you’re pulling out of various orifi (is that a word?).

      Similarly, Keith Harrumphreys has a new post up arguing that legalizing what was once prohibited can expand the black market. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, so I’ll reserve judgment until I do.

    • Freeman says:

      Wow! I haven’t seen that much reefer madness all in one place in quite some time (Duncan’s link). It’s like a Kevin Sebat compilation.

      Classic addiction symptoms. The more propaganda they use, the less effect it has and they have to use more and more to feel the same effect. Deni better be careful or she’ll OD on her own misinformation!

  17. Servetus says:

    OT: New research identifies a biomarker for alcohol addiction:

    “…scientists from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco, have identified circuitry in the brain that drives compulsive drinking in rats, and likely plays a similar role in humans.

    …[scientists] could reduce compulsive drinking in rats by inhibiting key neural pathways that run between the prefrontal cortex, which is involved with higher functions such as critical thinking and risk assessment, and the nucleus accumbens, a critical area for reward and motivation.”

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Was Julio not interested in running a clinic and research center or did he get kicked to the curb by Ernest?

      When I started writing this post asking about the Gallo brothers it was meant to be an exercise in stupidity. But it never crossed my mind that the research center could possibly be endowed by the makers of cheap wine. But it actually is that Ernest Gallo.

      • darkcycle says:

        I knew a son of one of the Gallo’s (I don’t want to give hints). He once threatened my life.

  18. allan says:

    OT… anyone know Rick Maughs? Seems he’s publishing a rag called American Hemp News (NW Edition) that’s allegedly plagiarizing its content. Fellow Oregonion and publisher of the Cannabis Connection, Keith Mansur, reports this “publication” is stealing CC material as well as articles from CNN, AP and CBS without providing originating credits. Tsk, tsk… a 3rd rate hack can at least decently rewrite material. Stealing it is sooo uncool.

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