Steven Greenhut on the Government's Addiction to Crackpot Scare Tactics

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Credit: Caveman Chuck Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

“As many as 100,000 crack babies are born every year,” reported the Los Angeles Times in an overheated 1990 article echoing the results of a Department of Health and Human Services study. The feds were calling for a massive influx of tax dollars to fund social programs to help a new generation of Americans born to mothers who used so-called crack cocaine. More than two decades later, we learn the truth. The hysteriaâ€"which led to new drug laws that imposed unreasonably harsh sentences on the mostly African-American people who used that particular kind of cocaine â€" was unwarranted. The numbers of crack babies were wildly exaggerated. As Steven Greenhut explains, this is just one of countless examples of the government using crackpot scare tactics to impose its agenda.