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Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: Up in Smoke

In the August 7, 2005, Freakonomics column in the New York Times Magazine, Dubner and Levitt ask a simple question: Whatever happened to crack cocaine? Crack was the scourge of the 1980’s, leading to endless misery and violence. Today, it is rarely mentioned in the news media. Does that mean that crack has vanished? Click here for the full text of the article. This blog post supplies additional research material.

Click here to read the academic paper (by Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Paul S. Heaton, Steven D. Levitt, and Kevin M. Murphy) that the column is based on. Click here to read a paper by Levitt and Sudhir Venkatesh that explores the economics of a crack gang. (This is the same research that formed the basis of “Why Do Drug Dealers Live With Their Moms?”, the third chapter of Freakonomics.) Click here for a paper by the criminologist Alfred Blumstein that explores the disparity in prison sentences for dealing crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Click here for Dan Baum’s book Smoke and Mirrors, which tells the Tip O’Neill/Len Bias story.

And here, as compiled by the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, are an extraordinarily entertaining index of cocaine street names:

For cocaine powder: Badrock, Bazooka, Beam, Berni, Bernice, Big C, Blast, Blizzard, Blow, Blunt, Bouncing Powder, Bump, C, Cabello, Caine, Candy, Caviar, Charlie, Chicken Scratch, Coca, Cocktail, Coconut, Coke, Cola, Damablanca, Dust, Flake, Flex, Florida Snow, Foo Foo, Freeze, G-Rock, Girl, Goofball, Happy Dust, Happy Powder, Happy Trails, Heaven, King, Lady, Lady Caine, Late Night, Line, Mama Coca, Marching Dust/Powder, Mojo, Monster, Mujer, Nieve, Nose, Nose Candy, P-Dogs, Peruvian, Powder, Press, Prime Time, Rush, Shot, Sleighride, Sniff, Snort, Snow, Snowbirds, Soda, Speedball, Sporting, Stardust, Sugar, Sweet Stuff, Toke, Trails, White Lady, White Powder, Yeyo, Zip.

For smokeable cocaine: Base, Ball, Beat, Bisquits, Bones, Boost, Boulders, Brick, Bump, Cakes, Casper, Chalk, Cookies, Crumbs, Cubes, Fatbags, Freebase, Gravel, Hardball, Hell, Kibbles n’ Bits, Kryptonite, Love, Moonrocks, Nuggets, Onion, Pebbles, Piedras, Piece, Ready Rock, Roca, Rock(s), Rock Star, Scotty, Scrabble, Smoke House, Stones, Teeth, Tornado.