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You Walk Into A Nicu

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You walk into a NICU. As you walk down the halls it is quiet and warm. You continue passing rooms of isolettes and tiny babies. As you near the end of the hall you start to hear the shrill scream of an infant. You look in to see a newborn infant alone in a big room. The cry is one of pain and the baby is inconsolable. The infant’s skin is mottled, its reflexes are hyperactive, and it is breathing rapidly. You are looking at a baby that was born addicted to heroin. I experienced this over the summer while I was doing my externship. Reading about this baby’s story broke my heart, but it also made me say: “what can we do to try to fix this problem.” I haven’t been sure when to start, so I was thrilled when I found out about this…show more content…
In March 2015, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill that identifies it as child abuse if a mother uses drugs and in turn harms her fetus. (Guttmacher, 2015). Should the bill pass in the Arkansas Senate, it calls to allow a judge to sentence a pregnant woman to substance abuse treatment in lieu of being convicted and sentenced.” (Guttmacher, 2015). Arkansas is 1 of 18 states that considers it child abuse to ingest drugs during pregnancy. (Guttmacher, 2015). We are also 1 of 12 states that “has a targeted program created” which allows for a pregnant woman to be sentenced to rehab instead of jail time. Arkansas does not require mandatory reporting when substance abuse is suspected during pregnancy, nor do we require testing. (Guttmacher, 2015). I was very surprised to see that only Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and North Dakota require testing. (Guttmacher, 2015). Arkansas also does not give pregnant women priority access in general treatment programs or protect them from discrimination in publicly funded programs. The majority of states, along with Arkansas, only address this subject with punitive consequences. I then sought out the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opinion on this matter. They posted an opinion on this matter in January 2011 and reaffirmed the opinion in 2014. The opinion of ACOG is as follows: “Drug enforcement policies that deter women from seeking prenatal
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