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Books, Journals, New Media
March 18, 1998

Crack: Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

edited by Craig Reinarman and Harry G. Levine, 388 pp, with illus, $48, ISBN 0-520-20241-4, paper, $17.95, ISBN 0-520-20242-2, Berkeley, Calif, University of California Press, 1997.

JAMA. 1998;279(11):885-886. doi:10.1001/jama.279.11.885

The introduction and spread of smokable cocaine, or crack, has inflicted tremendous harm to individuals and to society. Not the least, the authors of this provocative book argue, is the inappropriate punitive reaction to a largely mythical crack "epidemic." The much publicized war on drugs of the 1980s, which failed to stem the supply of crack or other illegal drugs, had its origins in a misleading, medicalized view of drug abuse and in a conservative ideology. As the editors assert, "Unemployment, poverty, urban decay, school crises, crime, and all their attendant forms of human troubles were spoken of and acted upon as if they were the result of individual deviance, immorality, or weakness." In such a context, an offensive was launched with the advent of crack in 1986 that did little to help drug users and had numerous ill effects.