Cracked Perspectives: Two Generations of Females Reflect on the Crack Era
Judith A Ryder, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Regina Brisgone, East Carolina University
Abstract: This study examines women’s crack use and the repercussions for girls growing up with drug-using mothers. Interviews (collected 1996-2001 for separate National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded projects) were conducted with 58 women and 24 girls born into distinct drug eras (Crack Generation; Marijuana Generation). By comparing their narratives, with a focus on drug involvement and family relations, we explore how the circumstances and behaviors of one generation influenced the path of those who came after. Findings extend Golub and Johnson’s (1999) generational thesis of drug eras by illustrating the effects of the Crack Era on females. In addition, the narratives counter suppositions that a younger generation’s rejection of their elders’ drug choice may enhance youths’ future prospects (Golub, Johnson, Dunlap & Sifaneck, 2004). We draw on attachment theory (Bowlby, 1988) to suggest that drug use disrupted affectional bonds between mothers and daughters and contributed to girls’ excessive marijuana use, violence and drug trafficking. Interrupting the intergenerational transmission of drug-related problems requires empathic, holistic approaches that address mother-daughter emotional connections, as well as gender and generational experiences.