Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crack Kids

Remember all the approbation? How crack-using moms were vilified and their kids taken away because they endangered them in the womb and how they were born addicted, those kids, with an uncertain and hopeless future? Yeah, turns out, writing about the subject in Tuesday's New York Times that they titled it "The Epidemic that Wasn't."

Turns out that if you were a baby boomer and your mom smoked and drank (and who wouldn't if you were a woman after WWII), it could be you were more abused in the womb. Yeah, crack cocaine? About the same as if your mom smoked cigarettes. She drank a little too much? Worse than that.

Lots of mothers-to-be are very kind to the developing pup these days, giving up caffeine, alcohol, druges, cigarettes for the duration and even for the nursing period.

[The picture? Stolen from an ebay trader trying to sell a hyper-realistic doll. Scary, I know.]


Anonymous said...

I was just surfing around and came onto your blog, thinking "pataphysics", oddly enough...

Not having read the study that this NYT article is citing, I just wanted to signal that there might be a flaw or two in the paper's interpretation of the work.

First, this an analysis of children who are actually able to develop out of infancy and to thus be included in the long-term scope of the study. Is there an accounting of the infants and their morbidity, those who do not live long enough to have their health assessed?

As a pediatric nurse, I recently said my final goodbye to a microcephalic, crack-exposed infant who was hospitalized for his entire life before succumbing to multiple organ failure. Anyone who took care of this infant over the last year would question the claims of relative harmlessness of exposing an infant to cocaine in utero.

Second, would you choose to be raised by a crack-using mother and father? Despite the fact that the study was large enough to tease out other social factors to support the idea that crack is relatively harmless, those other factors will nevertheless prevail in the lives of crack-exposed children.

Thus, it's difficult for me to conceive of this article, or your interpretation of it, as good news in any way.

Linda Ball said...

Here at JUC, we don't trade much in good news. And I don't think either I nor the NY Times found much to cheer about. To wonder about, maybe.