Female addicts excluded from drug treatment
109/481 19 Feb 90 07:55:10
From: Marilyn Burge
Subj: But they Jail them for Giving it to their Babies
Treatment Lacking for Pregnant Addicts
From 19 January issue of Science Mag
Published by the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (Page 285)
Crack cocaine is cucting an unprecedented swath through women and
therefore newborn babies. But pregnant women get short shrift when it comes to
Although at least half of crack addicts are now believed to be female,
"drug treatment is still predominantly a male world," says physician Wendy
Chavkin of Columbia University School of Public Health.
A survey of 78 New York treatment programs that Chavkin conducted last
year found that 54% excluded pregnant women, 67% excluded those on Medicaid,
and 87% excluded crack addicts. Why? Chavkin says the reasons were not clear,
although three programs told a woman who called posing as a pregnant addict to
try elsewhere because their facilities were located on third floor walk-ups.
Chavkin speculates that the real reasons have to do with uncertainties about
the medical management of pregnant women and liability fears.
Meanwhile the problem of drug-exposed babies is growing. Surveys
conducted witghin the last 2 years at three New York hospitals showed that 11
to 20% of all newborns were affected by crack. And the scourge is not limited
to the usual urban hot spots.
Ira Chasnoff of the National Association for Perinatal Addiction Reserach
and Education says that a study in Pinellas County, Florida (home of St.
Petersburg), revealed that 15% of all pregnant women tested positive for
cocaine, opiates, or marijuana.
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