The Context of Development for Young Children from Cocaine-Abusing Families

  • Linda C. Mayes
  • Marc H. Bornstein
Part of the The Plenum Series in Culture and Health book series (PSCH)


Prolonged cocaine addiction by its very intractable nature defines a way of life, and popular notions about the lifestyle of cocaine abuse have always abounded in stereotypes (Courtwright, 1982; Musto, 1973). One view persisting from the late 19th century portrays the innocent or eccentric but wildly imaginative individual jump-starting his creative slumps with an occasional, absolutely controlled, if not misguided, use of cocaine. Poets, painters, successful businessmen, professors, and physicians may have fallen prey to the temptation from time to time, but at their core they were still contributing members of society. The other, currently more popular, stereotypic extreme is the sinister, dangerous derelict, a thief at the least and murderer at the worst, whose life has been self-destructed by irresponsible cocaine abuse. These are the individuals whom communities abhor, enact laws against, and pursue-they are nameless and isolated outcasts, the criminals, prostitutes, and misfits. Similar negative stereotypes about cocaine use are seen in images of parents who abuse cocaine and in portrayals of children who were exposed to cocaine prenatally. That is, no one abusing cocaine can care for children, and children exposed to cocaine prenatally are universally and irrevocably damaged.


Foster Care Substance Abuse Treatment Cocaine Exposure Arousal Regulation Opiate Addict 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda C. Mayes
    • 1
  • Marc H. Bornstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Child Study CenterYale UniversityNew Haven
  2. 2.National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentBethesda

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