Apparently, via Mr Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy, that the “crack baby” epidemic wasn’t all it was, uhm, cracked up to be. I beg to differ, based on small amounts of personal experience. 14 or so years ago, my #1 daughter, having just been born, spent 3-4 weeks in the neo-natal ICU because of duodenal webbing blocking her intestine and then, as well (possibly related) having some facial reconstruction done due developmental anomalies. The point is that we spent some amount of time spending nights in the wards at the Chicago Children’s Hospital. Some number of kids were there each time with a particular screeching cry. I’ve heard that scream. It’s was identifiable and related as a symptom of that exposure. We were specifically informed by the nurses on staff that these kids were damaged by parental drug abuse during pregnancy. These kids were also not all infants but ranging in age up to about 4. Now it might be that “long term” the effects of this early developmental damage may fade, but … I don’t believe it.

First, conventional wisdom has it that nutrition in the first years of life has long term effects down the road, for bodily and intellectual development. For example, a main reason that people are a foot taller on average than they were 200 years ago is because of childhood nutrition. Is neo-natal development and environment not important?

Second, one of my wife’s cousins is going through the adoption process of a special needs infant. What makes that child special needs? Natal exposure to drugs like cocaine.

Is that conventional wisdom all wrong. I guess I’ll my life will be touched by someone who is not a statistical entry.

Filed under: Mark O.

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