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Regarding your story about “crack babies” by Stephanie Mencimer, “Suffer the Little Children” (“The Crack Issue,” 9/8): If your writer had stopped with “After the hysteria over the crack-baby phenomenon died down, sober-minded researchers concluded that cocaine wasn’t the lifetime debilitator they had once thought it was,” the story would have been accurate. Going on to report innuendo and anecdotes as she did is a sad effort to resurrect crack hysteria.

Numerous studies have found that there is no detectable increase in birth defects that may be associated with cocaine use during pregnancy and that there is no difference in IQ between cocaine-exposed and nonexposed children. In spite of the years of opportunity and the definite federal interest in proving the contention, there is no evidence of any “crack-baby” epidemic. Indeed, most of the undesirable effects often attributed to cocaine exposure may simply come from a lack of quality prenatal care, a lack of awareness (or concern) about family planning, and possibly alcohol use. Poverty and alcohol use aren’t as thrilling as “crack babies,” but they are a much more accurate assessment of the real problems.

People can visit the Common Sense Web site at http://www.csdp.org to learn more about drugs and drug policies. In particular, your writers will find our online book Drug War Facts at www.csdp.org/factbook to be a valuable resource.

Projects Coordinator

Common Sense for Drug Policy