The Surprising Truth About Pre-Natal Cocaine Exposure | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

The Surprising Truth About Pre-Natal Cocaine Exposure

How a long-term study into so-called 'crack babies' ended with unexpected results.

Image: 

Photo via

By John Lavitt

05/28/14

| Share

One of the pervasive claims in the war on drugs is that crack cocaine has caused permanent brain damage to a whole generation of inner city babies born addicted to crack. But according to the results of a 20-year study by Dr. Hallam Hurt, babies exposed in utero to cocaine – so-called crack babies – showed no significant differences when compared to the control group. In terms of learning disabilities and mental deficiencies, the two study groups from low-income families came out exactly the same.

Dr. Hallam Hurt began studying the problem of crack babies in 1988 by enlisting 224 near-term mothers living in poverty, half of whom used cocaine during pregnancy and half who did not. After birth, the babies were evaluated every six to 12 months until they were young adults. The study received almost $8 million in federal funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As one of the largest and longest-running studies on children exposed to cocaine in utero, the results of the study have been highly anticipated.

Now, 25 years later, the results are somewhat surprising. Dr. Hurt said the research team consistently found no significant differences between the cocaine-exposed children and the controls, and that the babies did not suffer long-term effects. What is quite disturbing, however, is the study found that children in both the control and test groups had lower-than-expected IQs. Although pre-natal cocaine exposure is not the smoking gun, poverty causes serious developmental delays in children across the board.

The statistics were grim. Among the children studied who had all been exposed to cocaine in the womb, 81 percent had seen an arrest, 35 percent had seen someone get shot, and 19 percent had seen a dead body, all before the age of seven. Poverty and the resulting lack of opportunity arising from socio-economic status is the real threat.

"Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine,” Hurt said.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv