No. The myth of the “crack baby” has persisted for decades, but studies have consistently concluded that pre-natal exposure to crack cocaine, which happens when a woman smokes crack cocaine while pregnant, has little or no effect on the long-term development of a child. 

Exposure to cocaine (powder or crack) can slow fetal growth but the development of the brain and body catches up as these children grow up. It has not, as widely thought in the 80s and 90s, produced “joyless” or “unmanageable” children. 

Poverty and the harms and stresses associated with it have a more significant impact on the physical and emotional development of a child than pre-natal exposure to cocaine. Children from nurturing and cognitively stimulating environments perform better, regardless of cocaine exposure.

See the fact sheet for more information and sources.