“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considering whether a pregnant woman’s use of illegal drugs qualifies as child abuse under state law. In May, the Drug Policy Alliance filed a friend of the court brief in the case — on behalf of itself, Families for Sensible Drug Policies, and eight nationally recognized experts in health, psychology, medicine and law — urging the Court to decide that the use of illicit drugs during pregnancy is not child abuse and women who used drugs while pregnant should not be punished by being named in a statewide child abuse registry.
There is a popular, but scientifically disproven, belief that a pregnant woman’s use of drugs harms her fetus in certain and predictable ways. In fact, the harms associated with prenatal exposure to controlled substances are indistinguishable from other factors, such as social determinants (the conditions in which people are born, grow and live) and environmental factors (poverty, lack of access to medical care, malnutrition, or chronic stress), which may affect newborn health.
In the context of the opioid crisis, there is a popular-culture view that all babies born dependent on opioids experience harms and that the harms are distinct from those caused by other factors. This perception is simply false. In fact, physicians routinely and effectively treat babies born with opioid withdrawal symptoms, just as they treat babies born with myriad other manageable medical conditions.”
Source: Salon.com – July 8, 2018