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Thread: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy[W:8]

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly View Post
    I don't know. I have no response to this. My only addiction in this life has been cigarettes, so I can't begin to understand addiction to meth or anything else. I will say that I can't understand why, when they are straight, why they can't make the conscious decision to try to get help for the baby's sake. If they don't want to get help for themselves, fine, but once they get pregnant, there's more to think about. I quit smoking when I got pregnant. I didn't want to. It was just a matter of not being selfish, and putting my own wants aside for what was better for the baby.
    I'll just say what should be and what is are different. Yes, a mother SHOULD be able to quit meth for nine months. But the fact is there are treatment facilities out there doing business for a reason, and that reason is the vast majority of addicts will fail with the "cold turkey, I can do this myself" approach. They should not need a facility, because if they're there, you can bet their life was in a tailspin and the loss of family, wife, kids, job, health, everything they hold dear would provide a sane person with the motivation to quit and stay clean and sober, but in reality IT IS NOT, and it's because an addict is not sane while in active addiction.

    Again - I've never been an addict to anything other than cigarettes, so I won't claim to know if the addiction is just as strong. I do know that she would not be the first addict to get help, because she loved her baby enough to try to get help. She just has to want to, and obviously this woman didn't want to.
    Obviously? Where is that in the record. My whole point on the earlier post was to point out that treatment options are few or just do not exist in reality for poor people. If you know otherwise in Knoxville or Madisonville, which facilities could she check herself into and which counselors take on the poor?

    I could almost guarantee that, if she walked into an ER and said, "I'm pregnant and addicted to meth. Can you help me?" They would help her. If not, they'd set themselves up for liability, as well as bad publicity.
    Goodness, an ER doesn't treat addicts. What it does do is temporarily stabilize them. Maybe she would spend a day or two in the hospital to detox and get her vitals into the normal range, and then they discharge them. I know this because our guys often have to spend a night or so in ER when they're coming off alcohol, in particular, because detox from alcohol is potentially fatal. The question is what happens after that. If you don't realize this, you really should read up a bit on addiction.

    Like I said, I'm not opposed to the concept. Knox county has a Drug Court where non-violent addicts are given the option of treatment or processing through the normal system. THAT is a decent approach, assuming the court/state funds treatment, which they normally do, at least in my area.

    What I have a problem with is hanging criminal charges over someone's head and then not providing for the help IF someone should need it, and a meth addict needs help.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy[W:8]

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    If you want to make a serious proposal, I'll treat it seriously. In the meantime, the point was alcohol abuse during pregnancy is incredibly harmful to the kids, same as abuse of other drugs. Occasional use of any drugs including alcohol is less harmful, but the only safe level is zero or nearly zero. So I'm not sure what use you have in mind that rises to the level of attempted manslaughter, but you certainly can't draw a line with alcohol on one side and meth on the other. And the story doesn't indicate how often the person used meth. It's a safe bet that it was regular use, perhaps daily or more, but there is no evidence to that effect.

    Besides, do you think a charge of attempted manslaughter motivates women to get help? Perhaps, but if the help isn't available, then what? Fill up the jails with drug abusers who get pregnant?
    You are equating meth abuse to drinking a glass of wine, and you want me to be serious with you. Please.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    As I have already said once, I don't claim to understand addiction to meth, because I have never been addicted to meth. I never claimed to know about addiction - again, as I have already said once.

    As far as the ER goes, I know that they have to get her stable, and again - I would almost guarantee that if she walked in, and said, "I'm pregnant and addicted to meth. Please help me." I guarantee you they would help her. Maybe, seeing as how you are an addiction counselor, you could check into this, because, being from Knoxville, as you say you are, that would be beneficial information for your skill set.


    I am not from Knoxville, but did a quick Google search for "low income Knoxville drug addiction" and came up with a website called Free Addiction Centers. It gave me 4 different places in Knoxville that can help addicts who are considered low income. Now, again - I'm not from Knoxville, but that took 4 seconds to do. Waiting list? Yeah, who knows. They might have a waiting list. But again, I would almost guarantee that in the instance of a pregnant addict, they'd find a bed for her. But she has to want that bed, and you, as an addiction counselor, should know this better than anyone. If she doesn't help, she's not going to try to get it.
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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    I've heard a lot of arguments such as "this will deter them from getting help".They offer FREE rehab for moms who can't afford it in my state! They are not thinking clearly to even consider the ramifications for themselves, much less babies. Something needs to give. I never understood why if a mom gave her child a hit of a drug, that mom would be arrested and the child would be removed. It's no different. As a matter of fact it's worse in the developing brain when they're in utero.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    Just one more point - a pregnant addict poses a health crisis for the child, so the purpose of any policy choice is to get that woman the help she needs to quit, at least during the pregnancy. Even better would be to provide help to get off drugs BEFORE she gets pregnant.

    But step one of that working as planned is making choices available to people who almost by definition have no money or support system to pay for that help. If she comes into a clinic for a routine OB appointment and the staff detects drugs in her system, they need to be able to say, "Here's where you can go...." If that someplace is an NA meeting in Knoxville, an hour drive each way, that's a near certain failure waiting to happen based on the evidence. So we might as well proceed on to step two, treat it as a criminal justice problem and involuntarily jail the mother at least until she gives birth.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    Just one more point - a pregnant addict poses a health crisis for the child, so the purpose of any policy choice is to get that woman the help she needs to quit, at least during the pregnancy. Even better would be to provide help to get off drugs BEFORE she gets pregnant.

    But step one of that working as planned is making choices available to people who almost by definition have no money or support system to pay for that help. If she comes into a clinic for a routine OB appointment and the staff detects drugs in her system, they need to be able to say, "Here's where you can go...." If that someplace is an NA meeting in Knoxville, an hour drive each way, that's a near certain failure waiting to happen based on the evidence. So we might as well proceed on to step two, treat it as a criminal justice problem and involuntarily jail the mother at least until she gives birth.
    I thought you said you were an addiction counselor. Are you saying that an NA meeting is going to be as good as a detox? If someone is an addict, going to an NA meeting isn't going to do jack **** until they get clean.

    And I don't claim to know much about Madisonville, but I'm sure that there are places there that will help - even if it means a ride to Knoxville. Ministers? Addiction counselors? Friends? Family? Somebody would give her a ride to Knoxville. Somebody. I know Tennessee. It's a great state, and not nearly that heartless.
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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly View Post
    As I have already said once, I don't claim to understand addiction to meth, because I have never been addicted to meth. I never claimed to know about addiction - again, as I have already said once.

    As far as the ER goes, I know that they have to get her stable, and again - I would almost guarantee that if she walked in, and said, "I'm pregnant and addicted to meth. Please help me." I guarantee you they would help her. Maybe, seeing as how you are an addiction counselor, you could check into this, because, being from Knoxville, as you say you are, that would be beneficial information for your skill set.
    For the record, I'm not a counselor, just a board member.

    No need to check into what services the ER offers addicts. They are these - DETOX AND STABILIZE THE PATIENT. The end. That's not a guess - we send guys to the ER all the time when their BP spikes and they're in danger of DYING, and then they come back to us the next day or two days later with some drugs to ease the transition. That's it. ER is now done with them.

    And there are few if any drug treatment facilities in hospitals any longer - those functions are provided by....drug treatment facilities that cost perhaps 10k for a month or two of intensive outpatient care, and double or triple that for inpatient care, depending on the facility. The ER doc might refer her to a place like ours, which now has a waiting list of several hundred because we take on people who are dead broke, often homeless. But there aren't 'scores' of facilities like ours. A couple in Knoxville, all of the legitimate ones full all of the time, although you can find a flop house that provides no actual services, just collects money to temporarily provide a bed and to send them to AA meetings for 'treatment.'

    I am not from Knoxville, but did a quick Google search for "low income Knoxville drug addiction" and came up with a website called Free Addiction Centers. It gave me 4 different places in Knoxville that can help addicts who are considered low income. Now, again - I'm not from Knoxville, but that took 4 seconds to do. Waiting list? Yeah, who knows. They might have a waiting list. But again, I would almost guarantee that in the instance of a pregnant addict, they'd find a bed for her. But she has to want that bed, and you, as an addiction counselor, should know this better than anyone. If she doesn't help, she's not going to try to get it.
    I won't go through the list, but the only one on there that is typically available to poor people is Great Starts and they have a capacity of 24.

    Here's the thing - I don't think we even disagree. I'm just pointing out the practical, on the ground realities of getting drug treatment when you're poor, and on the ground, in the real world, it's incredibly difficult and often functionally impossible because the services available are VERY limited. I know how drug treatment money flows from the state and it's OK one year, zero the next. If the 'charge them with a crime' approach was paired with a long term commitment to fund treatment, I'd be agnostic about that. We'd have to see how it works, but on the front end I'm OK with a big stick of charging them with a crime to get mothers into treatment. My problem all along is that I KNOW there are few options for that woman. Probably none in her county except for AA and perhaps NA meetings, and that is typical for Tennessee.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy[W:8]

    I havent figured out why this woman is up on charges.....because thousands of drug addicts do drugs during pregnancy and give birth every day.

    Why is she the exception? (Not that I havent heard of this type of action before but it 'seems' rare).
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    I have felt pain when I was in the womb. So when you say they are incapable of feeling pain, that is based on junk science.
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    A murderer putting a bullet through someone's brain is a medical procedure too.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy[W:8]

    Quote Originally Posted by CRUE CAB View Post
    Glass of wine, hits of meth. Yea, same thing. Please man, get real. Quit with the extremes.
    Where's the line?
    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    I have felt pain when I was in the womb. So when you say they are incapable of feeling pain, that is based on junk science.
    Quote Originally Posted by applejuicefool View Post
    A murderer putting a bullet through someone's brain is a medical procedure too.

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    Re: New Mother Charged with Assault for using Meth during Pregnancy

    Quote Originally Posted by Superfly View Post
    I thought you said you were an addiction counselor. Are you saying that an NA meeting is going to be as good as a detox? If someone is an addict, going to an NA meeting isn't going to do jack **** until they get clean.
    You just misread my comment. I said if the only option was NA meetings, that was nearly certain to FAIL.

    And I don't claim to know much about Madisonville, but I'm sure that there are places there that will help - even if it means a ride to Knoxville. Ministers? Addiction counselors? Friends? Family? Somebody would give her a ride to Knoxville. Somebody. I know Tennessee. It's a great state, and not nearly that heartless.
    I'm telling you I live here, am active in this area through being a BOARD member for 8 years for the kind of place you think exists everywhere, and I'm telling you that you're overstating the ease with which poor people can access treatment. It's very difficult, often functionally impossible, to find the kind of treatment those women need, even at current levels of demand. If the 'charge them with a crime' approach succeeds, we should HOPEFULLY see many, many more women seeking help and if they do an already overloaded system is just made worse because funding hasn't increased to deal with that eventuality.
    Last edited by JasperL; 07-16-14 at 01:31 PM.

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