Crack Epidemic


The crack epidemic began to spread across the US in the mid-80s. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 increased penalties for crack possession and usage.

By the end of 1986, crack cocaine was available in 28 states and the District of Columbia. By 1987, crack was reported to be available in all but four states in the United States.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 mandated a mandatory minimum sentence of five years without parole for possession of five grams of crack; to receive the same sentence with powder cocaine one had to have 500 grams. This sentencing disparity was reduced from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1 by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.