Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Reality Behind the "Crack Baby" Hysteria

NY Times: The Epidemic That Wasn’t, by Susan Okie:

...When the use of crack cocaine became a nationwide epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s, there were widespread fears that prenatal exposure to the drug would produce a generation of severely damaged children. Newspapers carried headlines like “Cocaine: A Vicious Assault on a Child,” “Crack’s Toll Among Babies: A Joyless View” and “Studies: Future Bleak for Crack Babies.”But now researchers are systematically following children who were exposed to cocaine before birth, and their findings suggest that ... the long-term effects of such exposure on children’s brain development and behavior appear relatively small....

Cocaine is undoubtedly bad for the fetus. But experts say its effects are less severe than those of alcohol and are comparable to those of tobacco — two legal substances that are used much more often by pregnant women, despite health warnings.

For a response to the article, see: Salon: Drug-addicted and pregnant, by Nancy Goldstein

Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink

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