Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

HHS Secretary Assails Alcohol and Drug Abuse by Pregnant Women

Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

HHS Secretary Assails Alcohol and Drug Abuse by Pregnant Women

Article excerpt

HHS Secretary ASsails Alcohol And Drug Abuse by Pregnant Women

"Substance abuse by a pregnant woman is tantamount to child abuse, pure and simple, and that is unacceptable," HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan declared in a speech to a symposium on drug abuse and birth defects in Boston June 6. He said not only the mother but the father should be held accountable for infants exposed to substance abuse.

Sullivan said that "where families are damaged beyond repair by substance abuse, and the children are severely harmed, we must act swiftly and firmly to terminate parental rights."

"By that I mean we must aggressively intervene, using the law to its fullest extent, and protect these children," the HHS Secretary said. "We must be more willing to make these children available to loving, nurturing adoptive parents."

Sullivan insisted that "as a society, we must make certain that the man involved -- the father, or other companion who supplies drugs or alcohol to the mother, or who simply stands by and does nothing -- is also held accountable for the damage done to a substance-exposed infant. Both parents created that life. Both parents must be held accountable for its welfare. …

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