Recent studies following children exposed to cocaine prenatally show that long term effects on behavior and brain development are comparable to the effects of prenatal exposure to tobacco and are less severe than the long term effects on prenatal exposure to alcohol, reports the New York Times.
Medical research discovered this reality in the 1990’s however the media never bothered to do a follow up report. Many members of the medical community, such as Dr. Ira Chasnoff (who spoke to NYT), believe that the media perpetuated the myth as a means of making profit.
Yet Janine Jackson, of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) says it wasn’t the myth of “severely damaged children” that the media was selling.” She believes it was the story of a socially stigmatic “bio-underclass” that media bureaus were selling. She points out that it was The Washington Post (7/30/89) not a practitioner who wrote: “the inner-city crack epidemic is now giving birth to the newest horror: a bio underclass, a generation of physically damaged cocaine babies whose biological inferiority is stamped at birth.” She asks “what is it about their own practices that would drive them to perpetuate such a ‘social meaning’ when it was not supported by science and when its potential effects were so devastating?”