Crack Mothers: Pregnancy, Drugs and the Media by Drew HumphriesCrack Mothers: Pregnancy, Drugs and the Media by Drew Humphries

Crack Mothers: Pregnancy, Drugs and the Media

byDrew Humphries

Paperback | January 1, 1999

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In Crack Mothers, Drew Humphries asserts that medicine and criminal justice have always been at odds on the subject of drug use. The one treats drug users as patients, the other as criminals. However, beginning in the late 1980s, the “crack mother” scare led to an unprecedented alliance between doctors and prosecutors in some states, where doctors turned addicted pregnant women over to the police for arrest, trial, and incarceration.

Humphries analyzes the public reaction to crack cocaine and the policies instituted to combat it. She shows us that, more often than not, policies were generated by the fears that crack mothers were harbingers of even more serious social problems. The media’s construction of the crack mother as a model of depravity, she argues, reflects mainstream desires and fears, rather than portraying the truth. Humphries offers a more balanced view of the women who use crack and the policies that have been adopted to stop them.

Humphries does not dwell on the transgressions of crack mothers, nor does she endorse the punitive measures of the drug war policy makers. After ten years of studying a wide range of state policies, she finds that zero tolerance, mandatory sentences, and interdiction have not only failed to reduce drug use but increased the sense of persecution among the urban poor and contributed to the crisis of overcrowding in courts and prisons. Moreover, she states, before crack mothers became a media spectacle, no one had considered the special needs of women in designing drug treatment programs. Crack Mothers is a timely and important contribution to our growing understanding of maternal health, drug use, and treatment.

Drew Humphries is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. She is coeditor of a special issue of Violence Against Women, entitled “The Media, Crime, and Women.”
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Title:Crack Mothers: Pregnancy, Drugs and the MediaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:January 1, 1999Publisher:Ohio State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0814250181

ISBN - 13:9780814250181

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Editorial Reviews

“This fine book deserves a wide readership. Advanced undergraduates in social science, health, or urban studies and graduate students in public health and criminal justice will profit from its breadth. Rich without being overly complex or long, this book can serve as a useful introduction to how drug policy and practice are woven together and how gender politics shape this important area of health policy.”—Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law