Pregnant Women and Drugs

Topics: Pregnancy Pages: 5 (1478 words) Published: May 19, 2013
Pregnant Women and Drugs
There are around 221,000 women that use illicit drugs while pregnant each year (“American”). This is a problem because the baby consumes what the mother takes (“Substance”). Women should be held criminally responsible for using both drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy because it endangers the fetus and causes other problems for the parents.

Cocaine is a drug that is illegal to made or sold in most countries (“Drug 362”). In California, for example, possession of cocaine comes with a punishment of time in prison and a fine up to seventy dollars. The sale of cocaine also has a penalty of two to four years in a state prison. The sale of cocaine to or around minors will increase the prison sentence even further; an additional one to nine. North Carolina laws state that the possession of cocaine is a class I felony. The sale of cocaine in North Carolina is a class G felony and if sold to a person sixteen years old or younger or to a pregnant woman, the punishment then becomes a class E felony (“State”).

MDMA is a commonly used drug as well. Possession of MDMA in California could land an offender in prison for a maximum of one year. This is very unlikely however. Possession of MDMA with intent to sell in California is punishable by sixteen months to three years in a state prison (“California”). Texas on the other hand has stricter regulation laws. Mere possession of MDMA in Texas has varying severities of punishment depending on the weight. Less than one gram has a minimum sentence of one hundred eighty days to two years in prison. Four hundred grams carries a sentence of five years to life in prison (“Texas”).

Alcohol is not illegal for those twenty one years of age or older, but there are still laws regarding the sale of alcohol. There are laws about when or where alcohol may be sold and who can consume it. Alcohol may not be sold on a Sunday and may not be sold to any person under the age of twenty one. There are a few exceptions to these laws such as allowing minors to drink on private property or for religious purpose. Some counties do not allow alcohol to be sold within their borders; these counties are known as “dry” counties (“Alcohol”).

One of the most harmful drugs to an unborn baby is cocaine (“Substance”). Drugs like cocaine may give the user a great boost of energy (“ActNow”), however using cocaine has many different effects on the fetus that may occur if used by a pregnant mother. Some of these effects on the mother may include miscarriage and bleeding in the mother. The fetus may be affected by being born prematurely. Cocaine could also cause death or strokes to the fetus which could lead to the possibility of brain damage (“Substance”). Cocaine is a very dangerous drug no matter how it is taken; snorted up the nose, injected into the veins, or smoked, which is also known as crack cocaine (“Drug 362”).

MDMA is another drug that causes bursts of energy (“ActNow”). MDMA’s street name is ecstasy (“Drug 363”). Before a baby is born, ecstasy, along with other drugs, may be past to them through the placenta if the mother uses said drug. These drugs may be past to the baby after birth too. If the mother is still using drugs while nursing, the breast milk that the child is consuming may contain some of the drug used. When a women uses ecstasy during pregnancy her baby may develop memory and learning impairments and may have a low birth weight (“Cleveland”). When a baby is born weighing five pounds or less they are more likely to have health problems early in life and learning issues later in school (“Substance”).

Alcohol is yet another commonly used substance during pregnancy. The effects of alcohol are much more dangerous on an unborn child then it would be for an adult (“Ryan 59”). When a pregnant woman drinks any type of alcoholic beverage the baby has a chance of developing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FAS. FAS is a group of birth defects brought on by a woman drinking...
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