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A recent Tennessee law has created a complicated quandary for recent mothers who have used drugs during pregnancy, reports Aid in Recovery. The law criminalizes drug addiction, but paradoxically does nothing to address the problem.
Stuart, FL (PRWEB) August 26, 2014
Aid in Recovery, a full service drug and alcohol treatment center, today comments on a law enacted this summer in Tennessee regarding neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS is a withdrawal condition of infants and newborns that is caused by ingesting habit-forming drugs the prenatal form of the syndrome involves drug ingestion on the part of the mother while the infant is in the womb. Infants with NAS are more likely to have complications including low birth weight and respiratory problems.
Tennessee has a troubling rate of NAS. To prevent and discourage addicted mothers from taking drugs while pregnant, and to enact justice on those who have already done so, Tennessee enacted a new law July 1 that explicitly gives prosecutors the ability to charge mothers for using drugs while pregnant with punishments that can include imprisonment.
While the motivation to deter and prevent NAS is pure, the practice of jailing mothers does not attack the root of the problems of addiction, and can in fact lead to unjust imprisonment for mothers who were simply following the orders of their physicians. In fact, a 2013 study by the Tennessee Department of Health found that 42% of all Tennessee NAS cases were caused by drugs prescribed by doctors to the mother.
Past addicts who are looking to recover can now potentially face jail time as well. To make matters worse, mothers affected by the law must prove that they are taking steps towards recovery, despite the fact that many regions of Tennessee are extremely underserved by rehabilitation and treatment facilities.
Another potential negative outcome is that mothers who otherwise may come forward for addiction treatment or prenatal care may instead stay off the radar, fearing jail time.
Just last year, Tennessee legislators passed the Safe Harbor Act, a law that encouraged addicted mothers to seek treatment without fear of losing their children based on their addiction alone. Now these two conflicting laws are both on the books.
Aid in Recovery believes that treatment is the only option for those who suffer from drug addiction. Imprisoning a suffering addict only compounds the problem, increasing the chances of relapse or continued addiction, and breaks up families. Instead, programs that promote drug rehabilitation and treatment will be more effective, says the treatment center.
Imprisoning addicts is an unreasonable reaction to a serious problem, said Michael Lukens, Psychologist at Aid in Recovery. To help repair these families, rather than break them apart, we need to promote judgment-free recovery programs. The Safe Harbor Act was a step in the right direction this new law is undoing that progress.
For more information on treatment and addiction programs available at Aid iin Recovery, visit them at http://www.aidinrecovery.com/
Aid in Recovery is a premier drug and alcohol treatment center. Our approach is defined by recognizing each clients need for a personalized drug and alcohol treatment program. We aren't a hospital-like institution and theres a good reason for that. We believe that treating each client as an individual is crucial to delivering the best possible patient care. At a busy clinic-like program, it simply isn't possible for a therapist to truly get to know each client and understand their specific needs. To best meet the needs of each patient we treat, we offer a diverse curriculum with a focus on both mind and body designed to meet the individual. We treat every patient as an individual and we work with one patient at a time and guide them to a new life in recovery. To learn more about the specifics of our program, please visit our program details page.
View our drug and alcohol treatment services or give us a call at 1-855-223-6171.
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