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Women With Substance Abuse Problems Essay

1085 words - 4 pages

Substance Abuse 1 Substance Abuse PAGE 6
Women with Substance Abuse ProblemsMonique ConeBSHS402October 11, 2010Elizabeth NyangWomen with Substance Abuse ProblemsCurrently 500, 000 babies are born addicted to illicit drugs each year. Of course, this number only represents those infants that make it to a hospital and are tested. It is unknown how many fall through the cracks, but babies have been found dead in dumpsters, in garbage bags, streams, and other public places.The effects of illicit drugs are difficult to diagnose in children, because most drug users also smoke and drink during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is commonly mistaken or coincides with illicit drug effects. "Cocaine use during pregnancy is associated with the risk of miscarriage; premature birth; stroke during labor and delivery; malformations of the limbs and kidney and possible later learning difficulties" (Mayet, Morgan, & Strang, 2008). Withdrawal symptoms in infants include an arched back, high-pitched cry and tremors.Physical abuse has been linked to children with mothers addicted to drugs. In a study of 513 drug-exposed infants, 102 were abused, usually by neglect (72%). Sexually abuse accounted for 2.9% of the abuse and physical abuse accounted for 15.7%. 80% of these children were black (Mayet, Morgan, & Strang, 2008).Although women dependant on illicit drugs make up a small demographic, especially compared to men, many women on the street find themselves as addicts and pregnant. Most pregnant drug offenders enter the legal system through hospitals or on other charges, such as prostitution, instead of being arrested for possession like most drug offenders. Illicit drug use is seen as a direct form of child maltreatment and usually proved through urine tests on the mother or the infant. Tests may also be conducted on hair follicles (Mayet, Morgan, & Strang, 2008).The real dilemma for case manager is what it their legal obligation when dealing with pregnant drug addicts. Mothers who are discovered as an illicit drug addict are seen as maltreating or neglecting their child. It is a case manager responsibility to become involved at this stage and proceed as they would in any other child neglect case. Pregnant women, however, bring up a separate issue: Under the law, a fetus is not a person; it is part of the woman's body. Therefore, it has no rights as a person. Child welfare workers brought a case before a judge in Manitoba in 1996. The judge ordered a woman to remain in drug rehab until her child was born. On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman could not be forced into rehab.The law now states" that judicial intervention in pregnancy and birth is not permissible.Specifically: a. medical treatment never be imposed upon a pregnant woman against her wishes; b. the criminal law, or any other law, never be used to confine or imprison a pregnant woman in the interest of her fetus; c. the conduct of a pregnant woman in relation to her fetus not...

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