Hastings Law Journal


Media and government alike speak of the "war on drugs" as if it were a new phenomenon. In fact, drug use and abuse have been recognized as significant social, legal, and medical issues in this country for well over a century. In this Article Drs. Kandall and Chavkin provide an overview of drug use in America, putting special emphasis on issues related to maternal drug use. The Article begins by briefly surveying the history of drugs in America. Next, the authors review the adverse medical outcomes associated with maternal drug use, which include increased infant morbidity and mortality. The discussion then turns to the ways in which government has responded to maternal drug use. Punitive governmental measures are criticized and alternative approaches assessed. The Authors conclude that instead of punishing women who use drugs, government should focus on promoting comprehensive drug treatment programs. Toward this end, they propose criteria for an effective supportive treatment model for drug using women.

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