Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

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Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 6th, 2013, 9:44 pm 

Should a pregnant woman who is abusing substances (i.e. alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants, etc.) be penalized?

Woman Forced Into Treatment Challenges Wisconsin Law That Allows Detention Of Pregnant Drug Users
Forbes Magazine, October 30, 2013
The New York Times highlights the case of Alicia Beltran, a pregnant Wisconsin woman who was locked up because she admitted to a physician’s assistant that she had had been hooked on Percocet (oxycodone). Beltran had stopped using Percocet with help from a substitute opiate, Suboxone (buprenorphine), and she was no longer using either drug. The physician’s assistant nevertheless recommended that she start taking Suboxone again. After Beltran declined, social workers and cops got involved, the upshot being a court order sending her to Casa Clare, a drug treatment center in Appleton, where she was confined until October 4. Beltran, who is currently about 29 weeks into her pregnancy, also faces a charge of negligence that could theaten her parental rights after her baby is born.

All this was authorized by a 1997 Wisconsin law that allows detention and forced treatment of any pregnant woman who “habitually lacks self-control in the use of alcohol beverages, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree, to the extent that there is a substantial risk that the physical health of the unborn child, and of the child when born, will be seriously affected or endangered unless the expectant mother receives prompt and adequate treatment for that habitual lack of self-control.” In Beltran’s case, the expectant mother was abstinent, a fact confirmed by urine tests, so it is hard to see in what sense she was experiencing a “habitual lack of self-control.” Furthermore, the drug that the government wanted her to take, buprenorphine, seems to pose a greater hazard to fetuses than oxycodone, the drug to which she had been addicted.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum ... rug-users/
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Venus on November 6th, 2013, 10:08 pm 

First of all being admitted to a drug treatment center for addicted mothers I do not consider "to penalize someone", I consider it helping.

It is one thing for an individual to do drugs but another thing to endanger a fetus. And it is not only opiates, alcohol and other drugs also endanger the health of the fetus.

However it seems this case is strange assuming we get the whole story.

If she indeed immediately stopped once or shortly after she found out she was pregnant and urine tests showed she does not use any then I find it strange she was admitted. I think that one has to be careful though, opiate addicts are known to lie because of the strong physical and psychological dependency of the drug. That the clinic wants her to take buprenorphine may actually make sense, because when the mother takes drugs the fetus becomes addicted as well and also needs to 'kick' the 'habit'.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby CanadysPeak on November 6th, 2013, 10:13 pm 

weakmagneto wrote:Should a pregnant woman who is abusing substances (i.e. alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants, etc.) be penalized?

Woman Forced Into Treatment Challenges Wisconsin Law That Allows Detention Of Pregnant Drug Users
Forbes Magazine, October 30, 2013
The New York Times highlights the case of Alicia Beltran, a pregnant Wisconsin woman who was locked up because she admitted to a physician’s assistant that she had had been hooked on Percocet (oxycodone). Beltran had stopped using Percocet with help from a substitute opiate, Suboxone (buprenorphine), and she was no longer using either drug. The physician’s assistant nevertheless recommended that she start taking Suboxone again. After Beltran declined, social workers and cops got involved, the upshot being a court order sending her to Casa Clare, a drug treatment center in Appleton, where she was confined until October 4. Beltran, who is currently about 29 weeks into her pregnancy, also faces a charge of negligence that could theaten her parental rights after her baby is born.

All this was authorized by a 1997 Wisconsin law that allows detention and forced treatment of any pregnant woman who “habitually lacks self-control in the use of alcohol beverages, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, exhibited to a severe degree, to the extent that there is a substantial risk that the physical health of the unborn child, and of the child when born, will be seriously affected or endangered unless the expectant mother receives prompt and adequate treatment for that habitual lack of self-control.” In Beltran’s case, the expectant mother was abstinent, a fact confirmed by urine tests, so it is hard to see in what sense she was experiencing a “habitual lack of self-control.” Furthermore, the drug that the government wanted her to take, buprenorphine, seems to pose a greater hazard to fetuses than oxycodone, the drug to which she had been addicted.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum ... rug-users/


I'd prefer pregnnt women not take drugs like pain-killers, but this is just another one of those one-way laws where the woman gets the crappy end of the stick. Who would stand for a law allowing imprisonment of any man who gets a woody while high? No matter the social good, I think we probably can't have a free society when one group is the object of punitive laws again and again.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 6th, 2013, 10:27 pm 

I thought I would add this article as it seems pertinent to the topic at hand:

Should Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs Face Child Abuse Charges?
Politix, February 12, 2013

Women who take illegal drugs while pregnant can face jail in some US states, on the grounds that they're harming their unborn child.

But in some cases those charges are "bogus," writes Kristen Gwynne in a controversial at progressive site Alternet.

According to South Carolina law, mothers are only guilty of a crime if the fetus is harmed by the drugs. But in rare cases women are still charged and convicted, as happened to 21-year-old Regina McKnight, who was arrested for homicide when her baby was stillborn after a pregnancy in which McKnight had taken cocaine. The conviction was overturned after four years of her sentence, based on research showing that cocaine wouldn't have significantly harmed the fetus.

In Alabama taking drugs while pregnant constitutes "the crime of chemical endangerment," based on a personhood law that regards the fetus as a child. The Alternet piece suggests that Alabama's law is too sweeping, since not all drugs are equally likely to harm unborn babies.

However, Alternet downplays the fact that common addictive drugs have serious side effects for the fetus. Methamphetamine is linked to low birth weight and developmental difficulties. And if mothers take opiates like heroin and oxycodone, babies will be born with withdrawal symptoms.

http://politix.topix.com/homepage/4554- ... se-charges
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Venus on November 6th, 2013, 10:35 pm 

I wonder if we are going to see the "don't care, I am for free choice" position, the "OK, so she she is on crack or is drunk all the time, so what? Her choice! OK, the child once born has an IQ of 60 and has grave emotional problems. Too bad! It was her free choice, I support it, none of my business, I have no opinion or no right to an opinion about it".
Last edited by Venus on November 6th, 2013, 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby mtbturtle on November 6th, 2013, 10:39 pm 

The efforts should be to make treatments available to women. If they face jail and penalties, it discourages them from being honest with their doctors and seeking treatment. So what do you want to punish women or to get them and the unborn treatment? You can't do both efficiently.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 6th, 2013, 10:51 pm 

What are your views on addictions? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Are addictions a disease?
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 6th, 2013, 11:23 pm 

Here's another view on addictions:

Stop Treating Drug Users As Criminals
Dr. Gabor Mate
July 27, 2013

...
Children who endure trauma often grow up to have insufficient supplies of certain essential “reward” chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and dopamine — the very chemicals that drugs of abuse either supplant or enhance. The core assumption of the war on drugs that addicts freely “choose” their habits and could “just say no” is a cruel mockery of the reality of Priscilla’s existence, as is the belief that imposing negative consequences on traumatized people will somehow force them to give up their addiction. If that were the case, Priscilla would have recovered long ago. Chronic drug use further impairs the addict’s capacity for rational decision-making.

The scientific literature makes clear that emotional stress is the most consistent trigger for addictive behaviours. How does that affect people such as Priscilla? A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “a history of childhood abuse per se is related to increased [nervous and hormonal] stress reactivity, which is further enhanced when additional trauma is experienced in adulthood.” The point is that the addict is retraumatized over and over again by ostracism, harassment, dire poverty, disease, the frantic hunt for a source of the substance of dependence, the violence of the underground drug world and harsh chastisement at the hands of the law — all consequences of the war on drugs.
...
If we want to support people’s potential for healthy transformation, we must cease to impose debilitating stress on their already burdened existence. Proper nutrition, shelter, the controlled provision of their substances of dependence, counselling, and compassionate caring are what most addicts need if we are to help wean them from their debilitating habits.

“Drug addiction has to be devilified,” child psychiatrist and brain researcher Bruce Perry has said. “If we create environments that are safe and predictable and relationally enriched, then all of the other factors involved in substance abuse and dependence will be so much easier to dissolve away. Our challenge is to figure out how to create these environments.”

The possibilities would be truly inspiring if we were to channel the energies and multiple billions now squandered on the war on drugs into building an evidence-based and humane rehabilitation and treatment system.

http://drgabormate.com/article/stop-tre ... criminals/
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby CanadysPeak on November 7th, 2013, 7:45 am 

weakmagneto wrote:What are your views on addictions? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Are addictions a disease?


Addictions are a bit like picking your nose in public - not something to be desired, but not terrible either, unless you ask someone else to clean up your messes. I am around many people each day who addicted to tobacco. They stink, and I think they'll die early, and I try to not stand near them, but otherwise they seem OK.

If you lock up women for taking oxy, will you then lock them up for eating too many Big macs and becoming obese? Or, how about if they won't eat enough fruit and leafy green vegetables? How about locking up women who drive too fast while pregnant?

Laws like this are once again proof that God gave men just enough blood for a brain or a penis, but not both.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Venus on November 7th, 2013, 10:53 am 

CanadysPeak wrote:Laws like this are once again proof that God gave men just enough blood for a brain or a penis, but not both.

A sexist, hateful and misandric statement.

I expected better on this forum.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby CanadysPeak on November 7th, 2013, 3:37 pm 

Venus wrote:
CanadysPeak wrote:Laws like this are once again proof that God gave men just enough blood for a brain or a penis, but not both.

A sexist, hateful and misandric statement.

I expected better on this forum.


From me? Shirley, you jest. I'm old - I can't hear, see, run, pee, or grow hair. My feet hurt. I have arthritis in my hands. My hair is all gone. The only pleasure I get is speaking my mind.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby CanadysPeak on November 7th, 2013, 3:47 pm 

Quickmagneto,

I try to use the following test in matters like this. I ask myself, if I were living in a primitive society, would a behavior be of sufficient threat to that society that I would be willing to stone the transgressor to death. If my answer is yes, I try to think of a more humane, modern punishment; if my answer is no, I try to ignore the behavior.

So, for example, if someone were to defecate in the water supply, I would be willing to stone them. Therefore, I agree with imprisoning polluters.

I would not think an addicted woman a threat to society for her addiction alone. Therefore, I would not be willing to kill her, so I try to live with it.

A crude test, but one of the few things that old age has taught me is that I can't fix very much of the world, no matter how wildly indignant I get about it. So, I may as well shut up and try to live with it.

I could probably find some way to support pregnant addicts for a lot less money than it would cost me to jail them. Since I'm tight, I'd probably go with that approach.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 7th, 2013, 8:01 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:Quickmagneto,

I try to use the following test in matters like this. I ask myself, if I were living in a primitive society, would a behavior be of sufficient threat to that society that I would be willing to stone the transgressor to death. If my answer is yes, I try to think of a more humane, modern punishment; if my answer is no, I try to ignore the behavior.

So, for example, if someone were to defecate in the water supply, I would be willing to stone them. Therefore, I agree with imprisoning polluters.

I would not think an addicted woman a threat to society for her addiction alone. Therefore, I would not be willing to kill her, so I try to live with it.

A crude test, but one of the few things that old age has taught me is that I can't fix very much of the world, no matter how wildly indignant I get about it. So, I may as well shut up and try to live with it.

I could probably find some way to support pregnant addicts for a lot less money than it would cost me to jail them. Since I'm tight, I'd probably go with that approach.


Wonderful to see you posting again CP! You were greatly missed! :)

I believe that for better mom and babe outcomes, the more you create an environment that is conducive to healing and provides a non-judgmental approach to care for these moms with appropriate supports for long-term healing, the more successes you will have. Research has shown that pregnancy is the most opportune time to provide women with treatment options.

Globe and Mail article, November 5, 2013,"Pregnant women with substance abuse problems need doctor’s compassion, not stigma, report says"
Seeing a pregnant women smoking a cigarette, imbibing a glass of wine or using drugs is sure to raise a societal eyebrow.

But a new report says women with substance abuse problems should be treated with compassion by health providers and society at large, especially during pregnancy, because addiction is a brain disorder and not a personal failing.

“It’s harmful for us to look upon pregnant women with addiction issues and assume it’s as simple as saying: ‘For the sake of the baby, stop using,’ ” said Colleen Dell, research chair in substance abuse at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dell was among a trio of experts discussing a report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) released Monday in Ottawa, which calls on health professionals to provide non-judgmental information to women about the dangers to themselves and their newborns from substance abuse during pregnancy.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby CanadysPeak on November 7th, 2013, 8:42 pm 

And further, I don't know what the prison occupancy rate looks like in Canada, but here in the US it runs about 100 % or so. We've already locked of most of the people that we don't approve of. If we start locking up people who abuse pain pills, we're gonna have to start releasing smack dealers and gang-bangers to make room.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby weakmagneto on November 7th, 2013, 8:59 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:And further, I don't know what the prison occupancy rate looks like in Canada, but here in the US it runs about 100 % or so. We've already locked of most of the people that we don't approve of. If we start locking up people who abuse pain pills, we're gonna have to start releasing smack dealers and gang-bangers to make room.


I agree. Ideally, pregnant women should be in a place that is not stressful (as should all of us!). I could only imagine how much stress jail time could have on a person let alone a pregnant woman.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Delta4Exile on December 5th, 2013, 12:18 pm 

What differentiates abuse from use? And if the unborn are only a fetus, and not a legally recongnized human baby yet, why would you try to say risky or abusive behaviours should be made illegal? If ya do that, then you're basically gonna have to ban abortion too since that's the ultimate in what you're objecting to. Of course, that might well be the ultimate goal, and they're just doing it incrementally ala dropping a frog into a pot of boiling water.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Venus on December 5th, 2013, 12:59 pm 

weakmagneto wrote:I believe that for better mom and babe outcomes, the more you create an environment that is conducive to healing and provides a non-judgmental approach to care for these moms with appropriate supports for long-term healing, the more successes you will have.

Conductive to healing? How do you suppose we heal a woman who willingly endangers the heath of her fetus by using drugs? By patting her on the back, make her feel good about herself and pamper her?

From the article:
Seeing a pregnant women smoking a cigarette, imbibing a glass of wine or using drugs is sure to raise a societal eyebrow.

But a new report says women with substance abuse problems should be treated with compassion by health providers and society at large, especially during pregnancy, because addiction is a brain disorder and not a personal failing.

This is typical, blame everything but the perpetrator. Thieves are victims of the system, obese people can't help it, and now pregnant women who load up on drugs have a brain disorder. And of course we can't call people on their responsibilities, calling a thief a thief or an obese person obese, no in the minds of those people that is just hate.

“It’s harmful for us to look upon pregnant women with addiction issues and assume it’s as simple as saying: ‘For the sake of the baby, stop using,’ ” said Colleen Dell, research chair in substance abuse at the University of Saskatchewan.

I am at a loss for words.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby adamarisaddison on January 27th, 2017, 5:02 am 

Yes i also agree with you, I do not consider "to penalize someone", I consider it helping. Pregnant women’s who are addicted to drug this will not be safe to health of the fetus. And if law is enforced on such situation i think it’s good for both mother and child.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby wolfhnd on January 27th, 2017, 7:05 am 

We have created a situation where woman can marry the state with predictable consequences. The difference in the success rates between children from two parent households and single parent households crosses all social economic classes. If these women had been raised in a society that was committed to fundamental values they would not have become drug addicts in the first place.

If you consider the fact that prior to 1960 black teenage pregnancy was lower than it was for white teenagers you see the connection between culture not poverty and anti social behavior. It fair to point that teenage pregnancy has been declining for all social economic groups for a century but that is not the point. The point being that it is possible to solve absolute poverty and not address undesirable behavior.

The spiritual sickness that afflicts society cannot be as easily cured as physical poverty. The new class structure and the problems associated with it closely correlate with IQ. People have segregated themselves according to ability and left spiritual impoverished community behind them as the successful migrated to gated communities or the equivalent.

The bad choices that the talented made with the drug culture of the 60s they were able to leave behind them but the less talented cannot escape their bad decisions. Simply throwing money at the problem as a kind of tangible virtue signaling is not sufficient compensation for not being part of the wider society especially if it is in the third person form of the government. Nor is marching in protests compensation for not living in the wider community.

When you see Hollywood actors protesting about the ills of society consider not only how isolated they are but how they have contributed to the problem by immoral lifestyles. If you are rich and famous using drugs and being promiscuous will not have the same effect as it will for the less affluent. Giving speeches or a tiny percent of your wealth away is not penance for destroying the culture that gave meaning to the life of the less fortunate.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby Serpent on January 27th, 2017, 1:56 pm 

Should a pregnant woman who is abusing substances (i.e. alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants, etc.) be penalized?

Well, of course!
Ply them with alcohol from age 14; get them hooked on illegal drugs in high school; prescribe anti-psychotics at the first sign of unhappiness; deny them reproductive and contraceptive education; slip them a mickey on a date, seduce them - or whatever it takes -; shut down all the women's health clinics; make abortion illegal, and then, if they insist on being pregnant, and some patriarch thinks they might abuse something and harm the baby nobody intends to support, lock 'em up.
Just doing our duty to save the world from stinky grils.
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Re: Should pregnant substance abusers be penalized?

Postby anumpetrov on July 5th, 2017, 11:54 pm 

I think there should be a law which prohibits pregnant women from using abusing substances (alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants, etc), and if they still using abusing substances then they should be penalized.
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