No Such Thing As A Crack Baby

by Cookie


I am so glad and relieved to know that crack babies aren’t really a thing.  We just panicked a little in the 80’s, that’s all.  So go ahead and light up your pipe when you’re pregnant, because it won’t have any lasting effects on your baby.


So here’s the good news:

Babies born to women who are crack cocaine addicts probably have a much better chance at adoption and a good life in cases where the mother decides to place the child for adoption.  If it is proven ( and this study seems to do so) that a crack baby is more a product of it’s environment than the exposure to drugs in utero, then I think more adoptive parents would jump at the chance to care for these babies.  But I’m just speculating here, and assuming that women addicted to crack may not be ready to be a parent in many situations.

Here’s the bad news:

I think it’s misleading to say that crack babies aren’t really a thing.  The article states that the kids do end up with lower developmental scores, anxiety etc, but that seems to be a result of their family environment.  And the physical problems seen at birth tend to be more of a factor of their prematurity, rather than the drug use.

Why is this misleading information to call the crack baby scare overblown?  Because the ramifications of the drug use are real, whether it is a direct cause or associated cause.

1.  I assume the drug use likely caused the prematurity.  This in itself puts the babies at risk, depending how early they are.  The drug use itself may not be causing the developmental problems at this point, but if there had been no drug use, would the baby have been safely born at term?  Without facing all these medical issues?

And then there is the whole developmental process that may be delayed due to prematurity.  You can link over to Amber’s blog if you have time to read about the challenges of parenting a premie child.

2. The drug use is likely a huge factor in the socio-economic status of the mother.  If your priority is feeding a drug habit, feeding your baby and parenting your child will likely be further down on the to do list everyday.  Again, not a direct result of the crack while in utero, but the effect of growing up in poverty and violence is obviously just as detrimental to a child’s development, isn’t it?

So terrific.  I’m so glad they did this study and called the crack baby scare “overblown”.

It’s not overblown, and it’s not a fucking scare.  The bottom line is that these children were born into shitty circumstances which they didn’t ask for.  The crack baby issue is real, whether the drugs themselves fucked the kids up or the non-parenting did.  Either way the child suffers.

But, since drug use in pregnancy is no big deal, let’s not offer any resources or help to the women in the situation so that they can do right by their child.  Let’s just say “oh, there’s no problem after all” and maybe it will go away.

There is a problem.  It’s just more complicated now is all.

Thanks for that CBC.  I was already dying of heartburn and now I’m irritated as well.  Fucking Tuesday.