Crack Cocaine Use on Rise Again!

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Crack is back — so how dangerous is it and why is its use on the up?

November 14, 2017   Authors

  1. Lecturer in mental health and addiction, University of York
  2. Professor in Substance Use, Liverpool John Moores University
  3. Lecturer in Crimimology and Social Policy, Loughborough University

There have long been scare stories about drugs so we need to be careful when interpreting new drug use data. But recent reports suggest that crack cocaine use is on the rise again.

Crack emerged in the Americas in the late 1970s as a relatively cheap and transportable form of cocaine that could be more easily distributed than the powdered variety and soon led to what was widely described as an “epidemic”, especially in the US.

Supporters of drug reform in the US have long highlighted the uneven application of the law concerning crack and powder cocaine. Referred to as the “100-1 Rule”, until the passing of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, possession of one gram of crack in America was treated as the equivalent of 100g of powder cocaine. As crack use was associated with the black, urban poor and powder cocaine with the more affluent white middle classes, this policy became symbolic of the racism of the “war on drugs” and the over-representation of black men in the US prison system .

By the late 1980s, crack was also being used in the UK, and in 2002 the British government was concerned enough to produce a national crack strategy. And now, after a relative reduction in use, the drug is making a worrying comeback. For more go to CRACK IS BACK


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