In the 1980s and early 90s "crack babies" were portrayed by the media as a looming epidemic which would destroy American social services, if not society itself. Crack babies were supposed to be completely unmanageable, without feelings or moral impulse, mentally retarded leeches on the welfare state.

A decade or so later, we find that so-called crack babies certainly have problems, especially attention deficit disorder and a higher tendency to get sick as children (and yes, high infant mortality). And going through withdrawal as babies certainly makes them cry a lot. But when placed in stable loving homes they grow into sane productive people at about the same rate as any other children do. And more recent studies point out that while crack cocaine is definitely not good for developing babies, babies born to mothers addicted to alcohol and nicotine exhibit most of the same symptoms. In fact, since most of the mothers in the crack babies study were also heavy smokers and drinkers, it's impossible to determine which of the effects actually resulted from crack.

This information is from an article published a few years ago in Mouth Magazine. I am currently looking for the citation.

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