Pregnant women and drug use - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Should pregnant women face legal consequences for using drugs?
Yes; they have violated the rights of the child 40 100.00%
No; it would infringe upon the rights of women 10 100.00%
Only if it is proven to have harmed the baby 12 100.00%
Undecided/other 15 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 32 Old 12-10-2003, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry I can't find the link now, but a pregnant woman who gave birth to a stillborn 5-lb baby is being prosecuted for something like negligent homicide due to her cocaine use while pregnant. Her lawyer claims that anything else could have killed the baby, and that cocaine use has never been linked to stillbirth. This is not the first case of this kind.

I see a lot of this happening among people I know - not getting prosecuted, but women who use drugs while pregnant and then when the baby is born dead or with serious problems, they say it couldn't have possibly been their fault. Some even blame the baby, saying it is just trying to get attention. (If I wanted to get attention, I would start screaming, instead of lying there NOT BREATHING!) A friend of mine gave birth prematurely after drinking, smoking and using IV drugs. Her seriously ill baby was taken away by the state (for her drug use after the baby was born) and she made no effort at all to get him back. I asked her what she was going to do, and she said "Nothing, because they said I would have to go to treatment and take parenting classes!"

Every woman I have known IRL who has smoked or used hard drugs during pregnancy has had a baby with problems such as prematurity, low birth weight or needing resucitation. And each one of these women has said it had nothing to do with the smoking or drugs.

I know that drug testing is not the answer (though it does happen) because you cannot prove a using woman is pregnant or a pregnant woman is using without random UA's, which would be seen as unconstitutional. Being in recovery myself, I understand that people have a hard time quitting addictive substances and I think the state should step in and help mothers who need treatment, but in the end the choice to use is always made by the user.

I think children have the right not to take dangerous drugs. These women take that right away from their children. (And I am semi-pro-choice, so it's not only a right-to-life issue!)
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#2 of 32 Old 12-10-2003, 05:29 PM
 
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Here is a Nation article, "Criminalizing Motherhood" about that situation:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031215&s=talvi

I am sooo torn on this topic. I wish if people didn't want to give their children "the best" they would just not have kids (and I DON'T mean the "best" shoes, I mean not smoking, abusing drugs, etc...). At the same time, where do you draw the line? Sure, it may be obvious to me that you don't do crack while pg, but how about smoking and moderate alcohol consumption (which are both legal). Then when you get there, do you say "you need X amt of milk, X amount of veggies, etc..." or what? I think the first situation to this problem is better and more affordable access to birth control. And more education in schools *before* this is an issue.

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#3 of 32 Old 12-10-2003, 05:48 PM
 
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I'm torn on this issue too. BTW, I do know people that have smoked and used drugs (albeit not coke ect) and had healthy children. But these were situations where they were occasional users and stopped then they found they were pg. I also know people that smoked only (didn't do drugs) during pregnancy and had small but generally healthy babies. Not condoning it, just pointing out that any use doesn't automatically mean bad outcome.

Anyway, my understanding is that there is a huge lack of adequate beds in treatment facilites for pregnant addicts. And I don't support required testing for moms in general. I think it just makes it more likely that they won't seek care and addicted moms need prenatal care more than anyone. Most of these moms did not plan their pregnancies, so I do think that higher availableity of BC is extremely important. Although not a perfect sure as severe addicts have a lower use of BC. But I bet many would get something like the hormonal implants if they were free for example.

And I agree where do you draw the line?? Is a sip of Champange for example going to result in someone losing their child? Remember the case of the waitress that refused to serve a pregnant woman a drink at a restaurant? She wasn't a hammered mom at a bar, but eating a meal in a regular restaurant. Who is the best person to decide what a pregnant woman can and can't do. These are the same people that would like it if home birth were illegal and that there were no vax exemptions for example. After all they are protecting the children.

Who is setting the standard? OBs? someone else? I don't think there is a perfect system for this.
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#4 of 32 Old 12-10-2003, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Of course, preventing drug abuse would be ideal. And I don't mean DARE and other failed efforts, I mean addressing situations in peoples' lives that make them more likely to be users. It really does take a whole village to raise a child, but we've gotten from that to "You had the kids, now you take care of them!" NO ONE can raise a kid without help!

Random drug testing would only deter such women from seeing prenatal care, and these are the women who are most likely to need it.

It's possible this could snowball into other things being made illegal, such as vegan diets or home births. I suppose it would be easier to just tack on extra punishments for the use of illegal drugs, since they are already illegal. Of course, the state does not take an interest in most users; they don't even usually go to jail. Some people say this is discriminating against people on the basis of pregnancy, and therefore on the basis of gender, since non-pregnant people do not face charges of homicide if they choose to use.

But there is proof that certain illegal drugs - especially cocaine - can cause problems that can lead to death, such as prematurity and placental abruption. There is no such proof for veganism.

I think the risks for smoking are pretty clear too. Alcohol is different - though I feel very strongly about not drinking any alcohol while pregnant, it's true that not all babies of drinkers who are truly moderate have problems. But you can't just demand that smokers take a pregnancy test, and nicotine is not easily detectable after 24 hours.

I heard of another case where a woman was denied a first-trimester abortion because she couldn't afford it, so she shot herself in the stomach. She was charged with murder. So if you do something that causes your baby's death, you can be punished. But people feel very strongly about not wanting their drugs taken away from them.

A woman I knew who was addicted to heroin at the time of her pregnancy was court-ordered to go on Methadone. Their reasoning was that detox is actually more harmful to the fetus than herion, but of course since heroin is illegal they can't just tell the mother to keep using.
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#5 of 32 Old 12-10-2003, 10:37 PM
 
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I just don't know! Its such a hard call. It almost needs to be decided case by case.
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#6 of 32 Old 12-11-2003, 01:27 AM
 
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Personally, I see drug addiction as an illness not a criminal act. I don't think women should face legal conseqences for having used drugs heavily during pregnancy. Although I do think that in many cases they will not be able to provide adequete care for their baby once he/she is born.

What I do think should happen is that there should be better programs to help women of child-bearing age (and all people actually) with drug addiction. I think women with addictions should have non-judgemental healthcare so they will actually trust their healthcare providers with information about their use so that they can actually be helped. Also, I know that many women with drug addictions do not get prenatal care while pregnant and so excellent prenatal care for these women is very important in my opinion.

I live in Canada where healthcare is socialized but I have to add that I think that programs and healthcare for drug addicts should be FREE!
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#7 of 32 Old 12-11-2003, 04:37 AM
 
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I'm torn as well, becuase it isn't a black and white issue....too many grey areas. In general, though, I don't think that drug users should face criminal charges; I think that they shouldn't be allowed to parent until they are "clean" and have proven that they can be a parent, but that system is already in place (though it is a crappy system).


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#8 of 32 Old 12-11-2003, 11:30 AM
 
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Does anyone else think that, perhaps, a logical first step to combat the problem of women using drugs while pregnant is to legalize them? It would be easier, then, to actually study the harmful outcomes, but not only that, it would be easier for people to seek help. Sure, if you're rich you can check into the Betty Ford clinic, but if you're poor and admit you have a drug problem not only is help unlikely, but you will probably loose your kids and job while you're at it.

 

 

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#9 of 32 Old 12-11-2003, 01:45 PM
 
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I support the legalization of drugs for many reasons, and this is a good one. And methadone, is identacle to heroin so it's just a legal joke. They aren't getting anyone off anything.
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#10 of 32 Old 12-11-2003, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Most methadone doctors will discourage an addict from ever trying to get off that stuff. They say you need to be on it for the rest of your life. The way they run the clinics is a total joke too - they are supposed to only let you in the program if you are serious about trying to quit using, as there is such a huge waiting list, but most people who go there are just using the methadone for in case they can't find any drugs that day. They go right on using heroin, cocaine and everything else. The clinic gives UAs, and they are supposed to drop you from the program if you test positive for anything but methadone, but I know people who were on it for 20 years before they finally got cut off for using other substances! A friend who was on it just a few years ago would always say, when he tested positive, "I don't know how that happened" and they would let him get away with that.:

The baby I knew who was born on methadone did have problems. She was addicted, and was prescribed tapered doses of morphine in the first few months of her life to help her cope. She was not able to poop on her own and had to have scheduled suppositories. The mom actually got off the methadone but we lost touch and I don't think she is still clean.

There are many good arguments for legalization of drugs, but they are still just as harmful either way (to the body).

There is really nothing special about a drug treatment center. People think they work all sorts of magic there, but really the best thing about them is they are good for addicts who maybe don't have anywhere to live, or who live with people who use and can't find a place on their own. They also provide a structured environment, recovery 24 hours a day. Most people I know who have been there have smuggled drugs inside. Clients are given several hours of free time outside the center, even in "lockdown" centers, which they sometimes use for getting drugs. Voluntary clients can also walk out at any time. They have you do a bunch of writing assignments and see slides of overgrown livers, and teach you about HIV, and you go to these discussion groups where you say how you're feeling. That's basically it and then you're out in 30-90 days, not enough time IMO to really get to the serious issues.

There are some centers that take pregnant women or women with children and work on parenting skills. The place in my hometown, though, only accepts children ages 5 to 8, and only one child per mother, which leaves out most people who need help.
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#11 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 11:24 AM
 
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I'm also torn about this. Addiction is an illness. Prosecuting women for this can have all sorts of negative personal and societal effects. I also agree that it's hard to draw the line. My mother smoked and drank moderately during all six of her pregnancies, and delivered six healthy, normal birthweight children. Other fetuses may be harmed by both smoking or drinking.

OTOH, I don't feel a lot of sympathy for women who deliver one drug affected baby after another. It seems to me that maybe you should get the benefit of the doubt, and the ability to get into counselling the first time. After that, if you can't really kick drugs, you have no business getting pg and inflicting damage on additional children.
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#12 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 05:15 PM
 
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Well, I know a couple of extremely kind, aware mothers who used mj throughout pregnancy. I honestly could not picture better moms that I know if I tried. Totally AP... gentle discipline, family bedding, slinging, extended breastfeeding, homebirthing... so I think those decisions would have to be made on a case-by-case basis. If a woman is so mentally unstable from drug use that she cannot care for a child, that's one thing. It's quite another when women believe in the spiritual aspects of consumption... ie, to gain insight, pass wisdom and spiritual knowledge to their babies, etc... and are loving, gentle and fully aware mothers.
So should women who repeatedly birth drug-addicted children be forced to use birth control?
And isn't an abortion more harmful to a fetus than drug consumption is? At least the child has somewhat of a chance if mom continues her pregnancy and uses drugs at the same time
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#13 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 06:17 PM
 
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I'm not aware of any definite link between moderate marijuana useage and birth defects in children, so that's not really what I'm talking about.

I've seen many cases of women giving birth to one severely damaged child, either from significant alcohol or cocaine use, and that's what I'm thinking about. These are children who are not going to be OK with a little breastfeeding or co-sleeping. They are kids who are going to never be self-supporting adults.

I have friends who have adopted children like this, and it breaks their hearts when the phone rings and the social worker tells them their children's birthmother is drugging/drinking and pregnant again, and would they be interested in another sibling.

I do tend to be very fairly civil libertarian oriented, but I don't know about this one. It wouldn't really break my heart to see some of these people on long term birth control until their addiction is dealt with. This is one area where my views have changed since I've been a mother.

As for the abortion issue, I'm not taking this thread there...
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#14 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think forced birth control (or even "incentives" for using birth control) is the answer, because it smacks of Eugenics and I can see that snowballing into things like requiring licenses for parents and mandatory sterilization for low-income women who have children.

I resist the idea that certain people are just not worthy of reproduction. Stopping drug use is preferable to stopping children from being born.

I have never heard of pot causing serious problems in the fetus - maybe low birth weight, but that is due more to the smoking than the actual drug. I hear if pot is eaten or brewed in a tea, it's less harmful.

Most hardcore drug addicts are not planning to get pregnant, but birth control is not often affordable or available to them. They may welcome it if it were.
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#15 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 10:03 PM
 
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I'm not a big advocate of doomsday slippery slope theories. I don't see that this issue would lead to do with mandatory sterilization of low-income women.

I think we all agree that the best thing would be for these women to get treatment to stop the drug/alcohol abuse. As a society, we sure could do a whole lot better to see that treatment is readily available for people who want it.

However, there will always be a certain percentage of people, who for whatever reason, will not avail themselves of treatment, or who will go right back to using the minute they are out of treatment. There are people who do not want to stop using or are not at the point yet where they are ready.

I just cannot agree that it is OK for people to willfully inflict disabilities on children. If you've done it once then I don't see an excuse--you know what the outcome can be for subsequent pregnancies. I'm not buying that if you can find the money to buy drugs on a continual basis as a hardcore drug addict that you cannot afford to buy condoms. You might not have the will or the foresight to use birth control, but that doesn't make it OK to damage children.
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#16 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 11:14 PM
 
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Which is why LONG TERM birth control needs to be encouraged and FREE. IUDs, the "shot" etc--- something with low failure rates and lower ability to use it wrong!

 

 

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#17 of 32 Old 12-12-2003, 11:15 PM
 
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I would have voted "case by case basis" but I voted no, because I feel a line has to be drawn. (not crazy about the "no" option, though, because I don't think anyone has a "right" to do something illegal, whether pg or not). Like a pp post said, where will it end? Smoking cigs? smoking mj? Having a beer or a glass of wine in public? Prozac, etc? We would end up with different standards in different parts of the country, depending on the local culture. Who sets the standard, the government? And who punishes? the prosecutor's office? No thanks. I definitely see a "slippery slope" situation. Of course, I'm pretty libertarian-oriented. But I also don't do hard drugs, while pg or not pg. I agree that drug addicts have an illness. It's too bad male drug addicts can't get preg, I wonder if anything would change?

I think providing /educating about birth control is the best answer, although I can see that isn't necessarily a workable plan either.

And my heart breaks for those kids, just like it breaks for victims of child abuse.

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#18 of 32 Old 12-13-2003, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I advocate FREE birth control for drug users, if they choose to use it, rather than "just spend your drug money on the Pill!" If they could do that, they probably would be able to stop using drugs, because then they wouldn't have the money for them. People do horrible things to themselves and other people to get money for drugs...they are not likely to do these same things to get birth control. People can go to the county health department, but transportation is a problem if you live in a rural area and have no car. Perhaps if it could be administered by someone who would come to your house...

I know too many people who are on their 4th or 5th time in rehab now. I think if you have been in that many times and are still using, maybe drugs aren't the real issue? Maybe there is something else going on in your life that rehab won't address? That's why I think it has to be longer than 30 days to have a lasting effect.

I guess tacking on extra legal consequences wouldn't really do any good, since it's not like drug users and other criminal types really consider these things. If making things illegal worked, no one would ever do anything illegal! People just expect not to get caught.

I understand about not willfully inflicting a disability on your children, but I could see that becoming a slippery slope as well. Would HIV+ women be sterilized? What about people who can pass on genetic disorders? I was born with some of the symptoms of FAS, but I'm still glad I was born. I don't wish I had never existed.

What I think is nearly as bad as forcing children to take drugs is the whole attitude of "whatever problems they develop aren't my fault." If people were educated, they might know their baby's problems are identical to those of other drug-affected babies. And because it "wasn't their fault" they see no reason to make a change with future pregnancies. Other drug addicts feed them myths like "You can use all you want if you just eat plenty of protein" and "My cousin knows someone who smoked crack every day and her baby was just fine."
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#19 of 32 Old 12-16-2003, 08:23 PM
 
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Regarding the "slippery slope" problem:

As a health care professional I can say that there is no definitive way to determine the cause of most stillbirths -- some yes, most no.

And then with the issue of the mother doing something that could harm the fetus -- well... why stop with drug use? how about obesity? That's something that can harm the fetus and the mother. What about multiple gestations due to infertility drugs. That really makes stillbirth more likely. What about uncontrolled diabetes mellitus? very serious complications there. And all that I have just mentioned could be controlled by the mother if she is willing to do so. Should we prosecute women who eat at McDonald's their whole pregnancy? Should we prosecute women who know they have gestational diabetes, but continue to eat a poor diet and their baby suffers for it? What about the women taking infertility drugs, with 6 or 7 gestations, who are told repeatedly of the likelihood of death or lifelong impairment to these babies, but choose not to do selective reduction?

I think that, while it is horrible to see a woman addicted to substances who is also pregnant, knowing how things may turn out, it is still NOT right to prosecute. Help, educate, prevent substance abuse to the best of our abilities and to turn the baby over to a loving family if the woman is unable to make appropriate life changes, but NOT prosecution. We help no one when we prosecute. Prosecution is not preventative, not curative, not helpful.

As for the other situations that I listed above: there are situations which impair the health and life of women and their fetuses that are too many to list here. Each woman does the best that she can at every step of her life. We each are only capable of so much. I don't want to judge another woman's able to handle life (or her health for that matter). I want to be available to support health maintenance and assist when there are problems. I could NOT condone the prosecution of a woman for making poor choices, even at the expense of her fetus, because I see women doing that every day. How many woman could we put in jail and would it solve the problem?
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#20 of 32 Old 12-16-2003, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's really not simple...at first it sounds like a good idea to punish the mothers, but I doubt that would help. Most people who are arrested for drug use go right on using.

I agree there are lots of things that can cause stillbirth. What if an autopsy could prove the most likely cause of death was drug abuse?

There is only so much medical science can do, though - you can have the best prenatal care, and the drugs will still cross the placenta. Drug use is something that can be stopped immediately, if the choice is made to do so, and the benefits are immediate. Obesity and diabetes take more time to get under control. I guess that's why I can tell a using mother to just quit, while I couldn't see telling a fat mother to lose weight.

From many of the posts I've read, I get the feeling a lot of us on this board are overweight. Midwives tell me it isn't really an issue unless a mother is over 75 lbs overweight.
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#21 of 32 Old 12-19-2003, 11:04 PM
 
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Whether we are numbing out with drugs or numbing out with food, the bottom line is that if we do that and are pregnant we are hurting ourselves and our unborn babies. If we are numbing out with anything we need help not prosecution.

Obesity raises the risks of developing gestational diabetes, thrombolic disorders, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and lots of other disorders that can be dangerous to both mother and baby. You can tell a drug user to quit or an obese person to exercise and eat within appropriate limits, but without some serious internal motivation it's not going to happen quickly. There must be internal motivation, support and encouragement -- not harassment, not moral platitudes and not police/litigation tactics.
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#22 of 32 Old 12-27-2003, 03:14 PM
 
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Where oh where do I start too address this issue and all the things that have been said about it.

First of all let me say that I am a social worker in a drug rehab facility. My clients are in rehab with their small children. Each client is allowed to have one or two children under the age of 5 in rehab with her. All of my clients are there because the state took their kids away for drug use. I've held babies who couldn't stand to be touched because of cocaine use. I've watched the convulsions and seizures of little ones who are coming off heroin addiction. I've watched as they administer the phenobarbital and perigoric to help control the seizures. I've taken moothers to the hospital to visit their tiny little 2 and 3 pound infants. I've bought doll clothes to bury an 11 ounce baby girl who never drew a breath.

If we punish these women it will only lead to them getting less and less prenatel care. It will take away the little bit of parenting their children get. A foster home is never a substitute for a mom. Addiction is, like others have said, an illness. No woman would chose to give birth to a seriously damaged baby. But many women can't stop using. Someone said drug use can be stopped immediately. They have obviously never been addicted. And the quilt these women feel over the damage they have caused their babies is often the very thing that leads them back out there to use again. 30 days of treatment does not solve anything. My women are in treatment for 6 to 8 months. Many of them will relapse within a month of leaving our program. 5% will "get" recovery the first time around. 20% will get what the need the second time around. Others will take five, six, eight, ten times in rehab and detox before they get the help they need. If they live long enough to come back in.

Women don't generally use drugs because they want to get high. Women generally use because of some trama. They want to cover the pain, they self-medicate. Rape, incest, battering, death of a close friend or family member, these are the things that lead women to use drugs. Cocaine will convince you to chase the high. Once you start using the depression gets so bad you have to keep using to feel good about yourself. Use heroin three days in a row and you have a habit, one that could and often does last for the rest of your now much shorter life.

What solutions do I see to this problem? Take away the criminal status for simple possession. Stop prosecuting moms who test positive at birth. Stop routine drug testing at inner city hospitals. Just because a woman is poor, black, and single does not mean she uses drugs. How dare we assume so by testing ever woman in this category. Open more drug treatment centers. There are only three in the state of New Jersey which are open to women and their children. At this time there is no program in the country that takes families or father's and their children. Provide the supports to keep families together instead of ripping them apart. Stop judging women you know nothing about.

I know I haven't addressed half the thoughts that came up as I read all your posts. But I hope I've openned a few eyes and hearts to the needs of addicts. I just wanted to say one last thing and I'll get off my soapbox. Part of my job is to teach my clients aboout the dangers of drug use. To do this I have researched the drugs very thoroughly. I can find nothing that shows any danger from marijuana use while pregnant or not. The only possible danger is fom smoking. And then it's the smoking that's a problem, not what you are smoking. Carbon monoxide is dangerous to the baby and can cause low birth weight. It also clogs up the placenta so that it blocks nutrients and oxygen from getting through to the baby.

Let's help each other and not tear each other down. Let's help these little babies keep their mommmys in their lives.

Kathi

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#23 of 32 Old 12-27-2003, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Someone said drug use can be stopped immediately. They have obviously never been addicted.
That was probably me. I was addicted to heroin and cocaine, and when I made a choice to stop using, I was able to stop. This was not without help, but I also had to make the choice to seek that help and then to commit to it. Many people make the choice to go to rehab or to a meeting, but then choose to use anyway.

There were times I expected "someone else" to fix it for me and that never worked for more than a few months. Then I would use - again, my choice. No one has ever made me use, despite all the horrible things wrong in my life at the time.

No one chooses to have traumatic things happen to them. I'm sure we have all heard that saying, "We are not responsible for our disease, but we are responsible for our recovery." To me, that says that although we are not to blame for the things other people have done to us, it is our responsibility what we do to ourselves (and others). Maybe others have a different interpretation?

I have known other recovering people whose life circumstances don't improve, despite staying clean, and it's a relief to them to know they don't have to use to deal with it, and that they never had to. A few years later, the same things started happening to me but unlike before, I knew using wouldn't do any good. And I know that if I choose to use again and then hurt someone else, they will not be all sympathetic when they hear about how "my disease made me do it."

Perhaps prosecution really isn't the way to go. But, we prosecute men for beating pregnant women and causing a miscarriage. In some states, this is 3rd degree murder, even if the fetus was not viable. Does this make sense? We sue doctors for telling us to go on dangerous 1,000 calorie diets that compromise our babies' health. Some legal-types claim it is illegal for a patient to allow a doctor who is under the influence to treat her; it makes her an accomplice to his crime. Some also say that self-induced abortions are illegal. It seems there are a number of laws that protect the unborn, but none so controversial as the drug issue.

Sometimes babies just get sick, but when they are sick from something that is completely preventable, I'm sure I'm not the only one to think "Why?!"
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#24 of 32 Old 12-27-2003, 07:04 PM
 
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Hi Greaseball,

I want to apologize for misinterpreting your statement about "just stop using." You wouldn't believe how many times I hear people say that they could just stop if they wanted to. And as you know, it's not all that easy to stop. Yes, you have to want to stop and you have to seek help to stop. Most of my clients come in to recovery kicking and screaming. The only reason they are there is because the state took their kids. However, many of them soon come to realize how much better life is without drugs. Others are still kicking and screaming the whole time they are in treatment. Some of these we see back again in a few weeks or months or years. Others we hear about their funerals. They have to want recovery. And they have to work for it.

I commend you on your recovery process. As you know, it's a process that continues one day at a time. And you have to want it each day.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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#25 of 32 Old 12-27-2003, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They have to be willing to put up with severe mental and physical discomfort, and who wants to do that? People come up with ways to try and make the withdrawal process easier, but then those who administer these programs say that if withdrawal were easy, the addict would not "learn a lesson." Maybe if we stopped thinking about morals and punishment, more people would have a chance.

What I have noticed about addicts who only want help so they can get their kids back is they often don't make it, because they don't want it for themselves. Others start using again when they are told they will never get their kids back, only to find out later that it's a common "test" used by CPS - tell the mother she can't have her kids and if she doesn't use despite that, she's ready to have them back. I have mixed feelings about lying to people like that but a lot of people don't get the kids back - some even voluntarily let them be adopted by relatives - and they find they are staying clean for themselves.

One woman I know who works with addicts says she does not accept anyone who does not agree in advance to give up their children. She never asks them to do it, but she wants to know they have that kind of willingness. I also have mixed feelings about that.

Drug addicts don't usually care for their children adequately, but most children I know IRL would have been better off staying with their moms than in a foster home.

What I don't understand is the limits CPS sets on women for how many times they can relapse before having parental rights terminated. I have known women who were faced with losing their children for the 5th time, and another woman whose child has been taken away and returned three times in one week. And there was a woman whose unborn child was made a ward of the state, even though she was in a treatment center, because she had 4 other children that were all in foster care.
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#26 of 32 Old 12-27-2003, 10:12 PM
 
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I think it is wrong for a mom to use drugs while pregnant but do we also go after women that smoke, stay with an abusive mate, single, overwieght, not gaining enough, et? Do we go after parents for smoking around their children?

Drugs are illegal (I cannot say I totally agree with our current laws) but the fact is the mom should at least be held responcible for breaking the law and doing drugs.
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#27 of 32 Old 01-02-2004, 03:14 AM
 
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i agree with Marsupialmom! I thikn these women do need to be held accountable for thier actions. Afterall its not only thier lives they are putting in danger they have a child to think about. I think its quite Selfish myself that any woman would do drugs. Or smoke or drink while pregnant. Thats my own thoughts on that. I know Many women who smoke while pregnant its thier choice. But it still make me cringe. My OB office and this state has a law or whatever that when you receive prentatal care you sign this paper stating that they can do random drug testing on you if they think its needed. Now they dont just spring these tests on you . You have to give them a reason. I had a nurse tell me that a lady there had taken a dr prescription pad and filled out some meds I dont remember which ones but strong not good stuff. Some type of pain pill. So of course they did the testing on her and she had to report to court and had to have the dr sign it and had to get prenatal. If she didnt stop or get help her kid was being taken away as it should be in my book. If the mother is careless enough while pregnant to put that child in danger why would it be any different when that child is here and in her care.
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#28 of 32 Old 01-02-2004, 04:01 AM
 
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But *where* oh *where* do we draw the line.

For example, there was recent furror over the chemicals in bmilk that are the same as the flame retardents used on pjs. So, if a mom has those, does she *have* to stop bfeeding? What if they are shown to be harmful.

And I, personally, don't drink while pg, but I don't drink a lot either. There are a lot of very educated people (primarily European) that see nothing wrong with a glass of wine daily while pg. Are we just going to punish people for illegal drug use?

If it just illegal drug use, there are so many confounding variables! A lot of people who have drug habits might not have the best access to healthy food, good living conditions (maybe she is breathing in toxic chemicals from a mill or processing plant), pleasant work environment (what if they only job she can find works with cleaning supplies, paint, or the like), and adequate prenatal care. In addition, there are so many indications that plenty of legal substances (nicotine, alcohol in excess) are *more* dangerous than recreational drug use.

I very much support every child having the best life they can. But where do we draw the line. My womb is MINE, my child is MINE and it scares the heck out of me to hear people talking about people who smoke, or drink not having the right to have children, for being charged with their problems. Because, as a parent, one thing I do KNOW is that no matter what I do right, something can go terribly wrong. And I don't want it to be me on the witness stand dealing with my loss and grief *and* having to explain my, what I thought were good, choices.

This may seem a far stretch from charging women for murder for extreme drug abuse, but it just seems to me that there *has* to be another solution!

 

 

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#29 of 32 Old 01-02-2004, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by TiredX2
I very much support every child having the best life they can. But where do we draw the line. My womb is MINE, my child is MINE and it scares the heck out of me to hear people talking about people who smoke, or drink not having the right to have children, for being charged with their problems. Because, as a parent, one thing I do KNOW is that no matter what I do right, something can go terribly wrong. And I don't want it to be me on the witness stand dealing with my loss and grief *and* having to explain my, what I thought were good, choices.
I agree whole heartedly with this statement. I am overweight. I have 4 kids. If someone told me becasue of that they were going to take my kids, I don't know what I would do.

OTOH, I have done specialized foster care. I have seen the kids whose moms took drugs or drank *heavily* through their pregnancies. It breaks my heart that for the rest of their lives, they pay the price of their mother’s decisions. My last placement was twins who were born at 28 wks and lived the first 3 months of their lives in the hospital. We had them from their release until 2 years old. These 2 beautiful children will never lead normal lives. The both suffer from FAS and are extremely developmentally delayed (among other things). The little boy has a slightly better chance at life (he finally learned to walk at 18 months), but his sister is not nearly as lucky. At this point in time, she still can't even hold a bottle on her own (and she is over three now), never mind sit up, walk or talk. I don't know what the solution is. It is a slippery slope to decide to start charging for some things and not others. I am not pretending to know what it is that needs to be done, all I know is there has to be some way to help the mothers and the babies.
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#30 of 32 Old 01-03-2004, 09:13 AM
 
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Originally posted by TiredX2
Which is why LONG TERM birth control needs to be encouraged and FREE. IUDs, the "shot" etc--- something with low failure rates and lower ability to use it wrong!
Bingo!

Except not the IUD....it can lead to higher rates of PID in women who are not monogamous.

Pills, depo, condoms, diaphragm....it all should be made available FREE to any woman who wants it. As well, the office visits and follow up should be free.

I work with pregnant women, and I used to work with pregnant teens. My boss is also the doc for the women's prison in this state. The issue goes way beyond simple abuse. People like that often have NO IDEA what they are doing is wrong (hard to believe, I know, but I've seen it). They distrust authority figures so much, they think they are just making stuff up to make them feel worse than they already feel.

How are they to pay for rehab if they want it? Medical cards don't cover the time needed, and neither does insurance. Insurance doesn't pay for birth control usually.

And where *do* you draw the line? Mamas who smoke, drink, or who are around second hand smoke are also putting their babies at risk. And what about mamas who formula feed after the birth? Sure the risks aren't as great, but there still are risks involved.

Addiction and poverty are terrible things. I wish it were a simple solution, but it sure isn't. I feel terrible for those babies. But I also feel terrible for the mamas, that they don't have the ability (for whatever reason) to take responsibility for their actions. And that they got into that situation in the first place. Urg. It is all saddening and sickening.
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