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Addiction. 1997 Sep;92(9):1201-5.

Substance abuse and maternity: the United States as a case study.

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  • 1Beth Israel Medical Center, Columbia University, New York, USA.


Two themes pervade the issue of women and addiction in the United States: anger and blame directed at women who use alcohol and other drugs; and neglect and a consequent lack of appropriate treatment. Often the focus is on the addicted pregnant woman and the debate posits a woman's right to autonomy and privacy in opposition to the future child's right to be born free from harm. Others emphasize the tension between blaming individuals and holding the state accountable for provision of services. These conflicts have impeded the diagnosis of women with substance abuse problems, the availability of services and women's access to appropriate care.

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