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Inner-City Use of Crack Cocaine Declining, Surveys Suggest


June 1993

Use of crack cocaine in New York City and other urban areas is in sharp decline, recent surveys suggest. The decline is not being caused by law enforcement or antidrug education, but rather on first-hand observations by prospective users of the drug's destructive potential (Malcolm Gladwell, "N.Y. Crack Epidemic Appears To Wane: Seeing Drug's Destructiveness, Younger People Are Turning Away," Washington Post, 5/31/93, A1).

While it is impossible to precisely gauge the decline, the number of New York City cocaine arrests, most of which involve crack, have dropped from about 54,000 in 1989 to less than 38,000 in 1991. Births to women using cocaine or crack cocaine dropped from about 3,200 in 1989 to about 2,200 in 1991. In Washington, D.C., the number of adult arrestees testing positive for cocaine dropped from a peak of about 67 percent in 1988 to roughly 50 percent at present. Patterns of use vary considerably from city to city, but the overall trend nationwide appears to be down.