Should Pregnant Drug Users Be Prosecuted: Persuasive Essay

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Seizures, fever, diarrhea, irritability, muscle spasms, feeding difficulties, vomiting, sleeping problems, and rapid breathing. All this is what an infant that suffers from neonatal abstinence syndrome experiences as soon as they're out of the womb. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the withdrawal of drugs in babies, and it is caused due to the addiction that the mother suffers from while carrying her child. According to the National Institute of Health blog team, the number of babies born with NAS has increased in recent decades because opioid misuse has increased. Between 1999 and 2013, the number of NAS cases tripled; in 2013, it affected six out of every 1,000 newborns.

Although I absolutely do not support pregnant women who use drugs, I believe that punishing them for it or treating them as criminals is not right, it only makes the situation worse. According to NAPW (National Advocates for Pregnant Women), forcing a pregnant woman into prison can in some cases cause her to lose the pregnancy and many other harmful effects. One of the main reasons for causing NAS is that addicted moms who want to treat their addiction may be too afraid to get into recovery for fear of being arrested, which only makes the pregnancy worse. In my opinion, this shouldn't be treated as a crime, it should be treated as a health issue, and the best way to ensure better outcomes for both moms and babies is to treat, not punish. We should help moms and their babies and provide treatment and support.

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Countries should start running drug tests for pregnant women to ensure that pregnant women and the fetus are healthy, and if the pregnant woman does suffer from drug abuse, then she should be treated and medicated. For example, pregnant women who are addicted to heroin or opioids should take medications such as methadone to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as an opiate replacement. According to, pregnant women who take methadone must do so through a structured medication assistance program, administered by a specialized clinic or rehab center. Pregnant women can also use buprenorphine (also approved), which offers more flexibility because it's easier to obtain and it can be provided by a physician or a certified healthcare facility. To ensure that pregnant women are healthy after recovery, things such as counseling sessions with a therapist and medication management are very good ways to avoid relapses, which often happen after the baby is born. So, women should be medicated and taken care of instead of being punished, and as we can see, there are multiple ways to treat pregnant women effectively.

In the caregiver-child dynamic, the caregiver is expected to provide a place to live, financial security, emotional support, and general caregiving, but the roles are often reversed in the substance abuse caregiver-child dynamics. In this dynamic, the child has to be responsible for their parents, and most of these children aren't aware of it. Children are asked to take on a level of maturity they most likely aren't ready for. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the emotional and mental stress of having to care for themselves and intoxicated parents can harm a child’s brain development. The relationship between an addicted parent and a child can have serious effects on the child’s development and life. If a child's addicted parent is absent most of the time, the child is going to have to take care of himself, which might lead to exposure to crime or drugs. Unfortunately, many children with addicted parents think that it's their fault. If a mom who is still suffering from an addiction can have really negative and harmful effects on the child’s life and this can harm the child mentally, so if the addicted mom is recovering, we have to make sure that she is fully recovered and capable of taking care of her child and having a healthy and positive mother-child relationship and provide everything her child needs.

Babies don't deserve to feel debilitation at birth for something that they aren't responsible for. They don't deserve to suffer from drug withdrawal as soon as they are born. They don't deserve a mother who suffers from drug addiction. These poor babies and mothers don't deserve any of it. We need to help pregnant women with drug addiction. We need to treat them and not criminalize them. We need to help these babies the right way.

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Should Pregnant Drug Users Be Prosecuted: Persuasive Essay. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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