The controversy of substance abuse during pregnancy has initiated speculation regarding matters of consequences specifically, treatment vs. punishment. There has been incredible speculation as well as various questions asked regarding this matter.
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Should the mother be held accountable for her actions and face the consequences or should she be given the right to appropriate treatment? In the United States there are a wide range of different stances on this issue such as a severely illicit viewpoint to where the mother should be faced with harsh punishments because of the effects dealt to the fetus to one that really emphasizes the concern of the mother’s mental health and the importance of getting treatment that copes with this issue. It is hoped that by raising awareness on these issues, policy enforcers throughout the United States will consider the approach that views both the mother and fetus as humanely as possible.
The complexities of dealing with this issue are not easily overcome. There are essentially pros and cons that stem from both perspectives however, mother’s facing substance abuse during pregnancy especially those who are addicted should be obligated to get professional treatment to help herself as well as her fetus as opposed to being looked down upon as a criminal who disregards human life because that just may not be the case.
Statistically, about 12% of the adult population in the United States suffers from some form of substance abuse. This number boosts to 28% if we include substance or mental health disorders which often times than not are inseparable from one another. What’s being done to punish women for facing this crisis of substance abuse during pregnancy far surpasses what’s being done to combat punishment and focus on the treatment regarding the mother and the fetus. As NCBI states The cost of society of drug use including crime, health care and reduced work productivity was estimated at over 300 billion dollars annually (NCBI 1). This is far more that was spent on the treatment of substance abuse which the total expenditure was only 13 billion dollars annually in 2005. This disparity between both consequences shows that there could be far more spending for treatment programs for women facing this problem.
In addition, maternal prenatal substance abuse has always been around. Although some people may believe that the fetus must be protected and is severely invulnerable we must also engage in the mother’s wellbeing and health as well. Getting treatment and help from this substance abuse crisis can result in a tremendous increase in the amount of women not facing substance abuse. By punishing them, they are not being exposed to a positive environment in which they can grow from and will result in only negative consequences.
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