The Epidemic That Wasn’t

Our last class period we talked a lot about drugs and alcohol affecting children when they are born. This got me wondering about all the “crack babies” from the 80’s and 90’s and how much they were affected by their mothers drinking and doing different drugs while being pregnant. During the 80’s and 90’s crack was an epidemic that was running rampant through most inner cities. There were widespread fears that parental exposure to the drug would produce a generation of severely damaged children. Studies and newspapers thought that an entire generation was going to be severely damaged due to crack and cocaine usage. What we have found is almost the opposite.

Researchers are systematically following children who were exposed to cocaine before birth, and their finding that the long term effects of such exposure on a children’s brain development and behavior appear relatively small compared to the original fear that a whole generation was going to be lost due to cocaine. Cocaine of course is bad for the fetus, but experts say it is less severe than alcohol and tobacco which are legal substances. Surveys by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2006 and 2007 found that 5.2 percent of pregnant women reported using illegal drugs, compared with 11.6 for alcohol 16.4 for tobacco.

While cocaine does slow fetal growth, and exposed infants are born smaller than unexposed infants. But as the children grow their brain and body size catch up. As more studies are done it is becoming more clear that the effects of alcohol are much worse than those of illegal drugs. The affects of alcohol and tobacco leave permanent body defects, and mental defects which require life long assistance and care. With more than twice as many mothers drinking and smoking that doing illegal drugs while pregnant it’s clear we need to get the word out that none of these are acceptable while pregnant.

Josh Fagen


~ by jfagen on September 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Epidemic That Wasn’t”

  1. I know I can’t believe how many people did crack and cocaine while pregnant! After I saw the movie Blow, which is a true story, and the mom was doing cocaine while she was pregnant, I found out that alot of people actually did that in the 80’s and 90’s while pregnant. That is horrible and im glad now that it is not so common but it is still being done today. What are they thinking!

  2. The previous comment was from Lisa Tamburrino. Sorry :)

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