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One theory is that its name comes from the crackling noise produced when it's heated, but it also suggests an impact on people's lives.
Crack became a major issue in the 1980s.
As the New York Times reported,
"Attorney General Edwin Meese 3d [said] today that the use of crack, a highly addictive form of cocaine, appeared to be a 'crisis of epidemic proportions in some areas' and urged creation of 24 special crack task forces around the country." Philip Shenon, October 3, 1986