Women with Substance Abuse Problems

Essay by momoconeUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 2010

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Substance Abuse 1 Substance Abuse � PAGE �6�

Women with Substance Abuse Problems

Monique Cone


October 11, 2010

Elizabeth Nyang


Women with Substance Abuse Problems

Currently 500, 000 babies are born addicted to illicit drugs each year. Of course, this number only represents those infants that make it to a hospital and are tested. It is unknown how many fall through the cracks, but babies have been found dead in dumpsters, in garbage bags, streams, and other public places.

The effects of illicit drugs are difficult to diagnose in children, because most drug users also smoke and drink during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is commonly mistaken or coincides with illicit drug effects. "Cocaine use during pregnancy is associated with the risk of miscarriage; premature birth; stroke during labor and delivery; malformations of the limbs and kidney and possible later learning difficulties" (Mayet, Morgan, & Strang, 2008).

Withdrawal symptoms in infants include an arched back, high-pitched cry and tremors.

Physical abuse has been linked to children with mothers addicted to drugs. In a study of 513 drug-exposed infants, 102 were abused, usually by neglect (72%). Sexually abuse accounted for 2.9% of the abuse and physical abuse accounted for 15.7%. 80% of these children were black (Mayet, Morgan, & Strang, 2008).

Although women dependant on illicit drugs make up a small demographic, especially compared to men, many women on the street find themselves as addicts and pregnant. Most pregnant drug offenders enter the legal system through hospitals or on other charges, such as prostitution, instead of being arrested for possession like most drug offenders. Illicit drug use is seen as a direct form of child maltreatment and usually proved through urine tests on the mother or the infant. Tests may also be conducted on hair...