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New Missouri bill may criminalize addiction in pregnant women

Published On: 03-02-2018 in Category: drug abuse

New Missouri bill may criminalize addiction in pregnant women

A new bill in Missouri has proposed to make it a crime if a pregnant woman uses addictive drugs or controlled substances without a prescription. Sponsored by Nixa Republican Jered Taylor, the legislation would pronounce it a crime to put the welfare of a child in danger by willfully injecting, ingesting, consuming or inhaling any narcotic drug during pregnancy. Taylor believes that the threat of imprisonment would motivate women struggling with addiction to seek professional treatment. Studies show that many pregnant women across the nation grapple mostly with opioid use disorder (OUD).

However, opponents of the bill feel that criminalizing vulnerable women would prevent them from speaking out and asking for help, besides compelling them to consider abortion. Experts say the bill is focused on punitive measures rather than seeking to solve the problem. They feel that the measure misinterprets addiction as a choice to abuse drugs rather than seeing it as a mental health problem. Mental health advocates argue that lawmakers should be concerned about allocation of funds for treatments, instead of linking addiction to crime.

According to the 2016 report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of babies experiencing drug withdrawal saw a whopping 300 percent rise between 1999 and 2013. The Guttmacher Institute, a research group on reproductive rights, says that drug abuse during pregnancy is viewed as child abuse in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and 19 states have funded special treatment programs for treating pregnant women with substance use disorders.

Opioid addiction in pregnant women

Prescription drug abuse is a rising public health concern across the U.S. with the growing number of pregnant women hooked on opioid medications. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), “Every hour a baby is born in the United States with symptoms of withdrawal from opiates — roughly 13,500 babies a year.” In medical terms, such a condition is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is characterized by respiratory problems, seizures, difficulty in feeding, dehydration, and irritability in infants. Affected infants of mothers addicted to opioids often remain hospitalized for weeks, undergoing treatment with methadone or morphine to gradually wean them off from their dependence on the medications that their mothers once abused.

Unfortunately, addiction wields great influence over the mind and thinking patterns of a woman, and it becomes extremely difficult for her to refrain from drug abuse on her willpower alone. So, it is incumbent upon such mothers to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Breaking free from addiction to prescription opioids is only possible through professional care.

Combating addiction to opioids

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to prescription opioids, or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Kansas City Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you get the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 816-399-2323 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.

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