Opinion | Punitive measures don’t help pregnant women dealing with addiction

The information in the excellent Sept. 20 news article “After losing a pregnancy, they were prosecuted” infuriated me, especially because better evidence-based solutions are known and available.

Many women who use drugs who have children, or who are pregnant for the first time, want to seek help for both their pregnancies and their drug use disorders, but why would they if they risk arrest and have their babies taken away?

There are programs that work; the Horizons program from the University of North Carolina, for example, which treats women for both their pregnancies and addiction without fear, offers treatment for babies born dependent on drugs, offers parenting skills and helps mothers find jobs and housing away from abusers — all with high success rates. Yet this article told us that state legislators with no clinical expertise continue to ignore science, thinking it’s more important to be punitive, punishing women and their children, while the men who impregnated them, who often introduce them to the drugs and offer little or no financial support, are not held accountable.

Carol Krause, Gaithersburg