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Initiation Into Crack and Cocaine: A Tale of Two Epidemics

NCJ Number
Contemporary Drug Problems Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: (Winter 1989) Pages: 579-618
Date Published
40 pages
This comparison of the crack cocaine "epidemic" and other drug "epidemics" in New York City focuses on whether new generations of drug users and drug sellers and an accompanying increase in violence have occurred more often for crack than for previous eras of cocaine use.
Information came from criminal justice and socioeconomic statistics from the early and middle 1980's. The samples were people arrested for crack and cocaine offenses. Findings indicated that the natural history of crack differs little from that of previous drug epidemics. However, selling patterns differ for crack and cocaine. Nevertheless, crack has not been a wider gateway than cocaine for criminal justice involvement, violent behavior, or drug selling. Results also indicate that the intensification of drug selling following the mass marketing first of cocaine and then of crack might have been mitigated if inner cities had retained their economic and social assets at the same levels during the 1980's as they did 10 years earlier. Findings also indicated that crack use will evolve in a pattern similar to earlier drugs, with new users accounting for 20 to 25 percent of the population and use occurring along with that of other drugs. Tables, notes, and 64 references.

Date Published: January 1, 1990