Surging cocaine use and new patterns of cocaine use in the 1980s and early 1990s in the United States sparked media and political frenzies. At the center of what sociologists have christened a moral panic was the iconic image of “crack babies” and “crack kids”—infants and children branded a “biological underclass” whose parents were portrayed(……)

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, new patterns of crack cocaine use dominated cultural headlines in sensationalized media frenzies that sociologists refer to as moral panics.  Other than cocaine-related violence, no aspect of this alarm garnered greater attention than the images of premature, cocaine-exposed infants trembling within incubators of neonatal intensive care units.  Those infants(……)