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.