Source: The New York Times
Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company
Pubdate: Thur, 7 Jan 1999
Author: Robert G. Newman, M.D.; Patricia K. Emery, Robert L. Cohen, M.D.;
Maia Szalavitz


To the Editor:

A Jan. 5 letter writer suggests that something be done to prevent women who
take methadone from having children. Yet a Department of Health and Human
Services panel concluded that methadone is the treatment of choice for
heroin-addicted pregnant women because the health outcomes of both the
woman and the fetus are better than they would be in the case of such

Pregnant addicts face discrimination and barriers in their efforts to
obtain drug treatment. For example, some methadone programs deny methadone
to pregnant women or reduce their dosage despite the fact that withdrawal
from heroin increases the risk of death for the fetus.

There are many threats to a newborn's health. The solution is not
sterilization of women, but confidential and nonpunitive treatment services.

Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women
New York, Jan. 5, 1999 
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