Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine Policy Term Paper by Nicky

Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine Policy
A review of the current crack cocaine policy versus powder cocaine policy and its implications for African-Americans.
# 148741 | 814 words | 3 sources | APA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 04, 2011 in Criminology (Drugs Enforcement) , African-American Studies (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper reveals that there are significant differences in federal sentencing guidelines for drug offenses which involve crack or powder cocaine, despite both being illicit drugs. The paper discusses the statistics that illustrate the effects of these disparities on sentencing for African Americans. The paper then examines the efforts that are being made to reform the current policy.

Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparities
Efforts Being Made to Reform these Policies

From the Paper:

"There is no pharmacological or scientific evidence that justifies treating crack cocaine more dangerous than powder, according to Henderson (2009). Rates for both crack and powder cocaine use are similar and both have remained stable for more than a decade. The idea that violent crime is associated crack cocaine, and therefore that it warrants stricter sentencing is simply a myth. Henderson notes that "minimal violence is involved with crack cocaine cases -- far less than half of the crack cocaine cases involved a weapon, while most actual violence is associated with the drug trade and not the drug itself". With this knowledge that there is no scientific difference in the dangerousness of the two drugs and that violence is not necessarily associated more with crack cocaine, it becomes clear that the sentencing disparities are unfounded, at best, racially motivated, at worst.
"Current drug laws punish small-time users and dealers the same as or more harshly than drug kingpins. This legislation unfairly targets minorities, like African American males, and is compounded by federal law enforcement tactics which focus on inner city communities that are demographically rich with African Americans, as opposed to suburban or rural areas. Boders et. al (2008) found that when "compared to Whites, African Americans were much more likely to use crack cocaine, (and) equally likely to use powder cocaine"."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Borders, T., Booth, B., Han, X., Wright, P, Leukefeld, C., Falck, R., Carlson, R. (May 2008). Longitudinal changes in methamphetamine and cocaine use in untreated rural stimulant users. Addiction, 103(5). Retrieved May 18, 2009, from CINAHL.
  • Papa, A. (22 Nov 2007). Congress must change racist crack cocaine laws. New York Amsterdam News, 98(48). Retrieved May 18, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier.
  • Restoring fairness to federal sentencing: Addressing the crack-powder disparity. (29 Apr 2009). Retrieved May 18, 2009, from

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine Policy (2011, November 04) Retrieved March 23, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine Policy" 04 November 2011. Web. 23 March. 2023. <>