Using Drugs During Pregnancy

By: Rosalinda Figueroa

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What is Happening and Who is this Impacting?

Mothers are abusing substances such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogens, and prescription abuse during their pregnancy. The consumption of drugs during pregnancy does not only affect the mother, but also the baby. Abusing substances during a pregnancy can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, fetal death, and even maternal death. Babies born to mothers who abuse substances during pregnancy usually have complications, such as, premature birth, low birth weight, heart and birth defects, infections, neonatal abstinence syndrome (a baby getting addicted to a drug before being born and then having to go through drug withdrawal after birth). Another problems these babies may have are learning and behavior problems, slower than normal growth, and sudden infant death syndrome.

How long has this been going on? What caused this problem? What is being done to stop the problem?

Substance abuse during pregnancy began in the early !900's when America began it's war with drugs. An increase in drug trafficking in the United States led many people throughout the country to become regular users of these drugs, even pregnant women. As time went by, many women began using cigarettes and alcohol, at it became more apparent as a social norm. As women began bearing children at younger ages, many of them were more ignorant towards the harms that drugs had on the baby. Today, many gynecologists test women during the early stages of the pregnancy to see if they are using substances in order to prevent a harm to the baby. Alcohol and cigarette companies also urge stores not to sell these products to pregnant women in order to prevent any birth defects to the baby.

Human Right Violations

Human rights violations have made a huge impact on the right of infants also. With Social Services now taking care in protecting children, many mothers who suffer from an addiction are removed taking care of their child in order to protect them. Furthermore, during pregnancy, many states aren't letting the mother have the baby once it is delivered if she is battling a substance abuse issues.
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Where is this happening? Has this ever happened before? Are there solutions from other communities?

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2013) about 16 million people around the world use drugs, 14 million of these people ages 15-64 are injecting drugs. Drugs have been around since the beginning of time, and continue to flow around the globe. Because of this, we must begin by fighting the war on drugs to prevent many innocent children from having to fight back later. Many countries have their age of consent to older years in order to prevent teenagers who are pregnant from using drugs.
Psychology Project: Cocaine use during pregnancy.