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Issue Analysis

Fair Sentencing Act Retroactivity: Addressing the Sentencing Disparity of Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine

College basketball star Len Bias died of a powder cocaine overdose while celebrating his number one draft pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Because his death was widely, although mistakenly, thought to be due to a crack cocaine overdose, the public and the federal government responded alike -- with panic about the perceived heightened dangers of crack cocaine. This panic served to advance the national war on drugs that was already well underway.