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Friday, December 26, 2014

Drug addiction and pregnancy

A New Jersey court determined that a mother had not abused her child when she sought help for her painkiller addiction. She was placed on methadone. Her baby showed signs of withdrawal after birth causing child protection to intervene.  The fact that she sought treatment was seen favourably. Thus she was determined to have not been grossly negligent.

The case is worrying.  By implication had she not sought treatment then she would be negilgent placing her in the position of abusing her baby. This not only shames mothers with addiction but drives them away from help for fear of the implications.

Many women who are addicts do not get pregnant by choice. They are not seeking pregnancy. Most addicted women are victims of abuse. Many pregnancies occur within patterns of inter personal violence. I wonder what happens when we see the mother and the baby as victims together both in need of support. This case did not seem to seek to criminalize the mother as cases elsewhere have done. This is good  

Now we need to bring a harm reduction and support lens to these cases

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