It was crack. That’s what many Americans thought in June 1986 when they learned that Len Bias, the University of Maryland basketball star just drafted by the Boston Celtics, had died after a night of celebration in his dormitory. The latest urban menace had claimed someone white American knew — and liked. How long before it claimed one of their own?

It wasn’t crack, actually. An autopsy would reveal that Bias had used ordinary powdered cocaine — not cocaine in rock form, i.e. crack — before collapsing in a fatal seizure. Yet the image lingered, and the fear of crack only deepened. There were crack babies and crack fiends, whole blocks of cities given over to crack houses. Crack was wack, and it was everywhere. Or so it seemed.

Christopher Johnson points to this discrepancy in his excellent and necessary six part podcast, 100:1: The Crack Legacy, produced and released by audiobook company Audible this spring. I almost missed 100:1 because, frankly, there are too many good…

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