By: Steven Greenhut 5/30/2013 11:44 AM
SACRAMENTO – “As many as 100,000 crack babies are born every year,” reported the Los Angeles Times in an overheated 1990 article echoing the results of a Department of Health and Human Services study. The feds were calling for a massive influx of tax dollars to fund social programs to help a new generation of Americans born to mothers who used so-called crack cocaine.
The article included a “must have” list for government agencies: more postnatal care and foster care, extra dollars for schools to deal with the disabilities these children reportedly would have, government-provided residential care, drug programs and more. “But absent those billions of additional dollars, what can state and local government do now to help those innocents?” the article asked, almost hopelessly. This was typical of news coverage of the time.
More than two decades later, we learn the truth. The hysteria – which led to new drug laws that imposed unreasonably harsh sentences on the mostly African-American people who used that particular kind of cocaine – was unwarranted. The numbers of crack babies were wildly exaggerated. As the New York Times now reports, “This supposed epidemic … was kicked off by a study of just 23 infants that the lead researcher now says was blown out of proportion.”…To Read More….