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The difference between frequency and types of crimes committed by powder-cocaine users and crack-cocaine users was also so great that laws were enacted to treat the drug differently.

This is racism, pure and simple. It may not be intentional, but that doesn't change it. The frequency and types of crimes committed by powder and crack users are a function of their socio-economic backgrounds, not their drugs of choice, which are a co-incidental cultural preference which was convenient in the repression of lower social classes. The same thing happens now with white meth users.

Yes, they are different drugs. No, one is not considerably more addictive or dangerous than the other.

Plenty to read on the subject in the references here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Sentencing_Act

So how do you explain epidemics in the early years of cocaine users switching to crack (for a cheaper and more potent high) and everything around them becoming 10x worse as a result?

> "and everything around them becoming 10x worse as a result?"

(Note my emphasis) You are begging the question here.

Consider the alternative hypothesis, that things went to shit and they switched to a cheaper form of cocaine. 'And', not 'because'. In fact, one can hypothesis that both changes were triggered by another factor that you have failed to mention.

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