Parents' Guide to

Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Provocative docu about drugs, corruption, and racism.

Movie NR 2021 89 minutes
Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

I thought that this was a good documentary an is definitely appropriate for 12 and up
age 17+

A political Satire that leaves just too much out!

Unfortunately, a political satire aimed at blaming whites and Republicans for the crack epidemic during the 80s and 90s. The documentary tells us that 2 thirds of crack users were white yet only 1 white former user was interviewed and was not asked about the consequences due to his crack abuse. At least 8 black former users were interviewed in great detail showing how crack and the US government destroyed their lives and that the prison's were full of black addicts. Well let me tell you about myself. I am white and I lived the crack addict life on the streets of Boston in the 80s and in Los Angeles during the 90s. I am 20 years clean today and can tell the story a little different.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

As the crack epidemic of the 1980s worsened, cocaine continued to arrive in America under suspicious circumstances, and the "War on Drugs" only made it worse. This is what is shown and discussed in the thoughtful and provocative documentary Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy. Through a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews, this documentary paints a bleak and unsparing portrait of crack's spread throughout America, how it spiraled out of control, ruined lives, and led to a Reagan Administration "War on Drugs" that disproportionately went after communities of color, even as the majority of crack users were White.

It shows how the media bought into lies rooted in racism, such as the myth of "crack babies" that has since been disproven by medical professionals. While Nancy Reagan told the youth of America to "Just Say No," cocaine smuggling was a facet of the war on communism in Central America that resulted in the infamous "Iran Contra Scandal." It's a maddening and heartbreaking story of systemic racism, governmental corruption, and hypocrisy, expertly told and paced. In light of continued discussion and reflection on the role of systemic racism with drug addiction, crime, and the vast increase in the prison population since 1980, Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy is a relevant part of the discussion, an illuminating portrait of a terrible chapter in American history, and in some respects a tribute to the work journalists, community activists, and academics do to reveal truths that may be difficult to face about our country and society.

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