"Crack Baby" Myth

Cocaine and Crack

"The escalating 'war on drugs' has often been stoked with inflamed portrayals of drug-involved women in the popular media. In the mid-1980s, pregnant addicts giving birth to ailing 'crack babies' became drug-enforcement icons. Twenty years later there is scant evidence to substantiate the dire predictions of permanent and severe damage to their children due to their drug use. Neither hysteria about 'crack babies' nor increased resources for drug court programs has produced a significant effort to increase access to effective drug treatment for pregnant women. Yet current media depictions of women addicted to methamphetamine are fueling the same hysteria with respect to pregnant women’s drug use."


Frost, Natasha A.; Greene, Judith; and Pranis, Kevin, "HARD HIT: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004," Institute on Women & Criminal Justice (New York, NY: Women's Prison Association, May 2006), p. 25.