Mothers and Illicit Drugs: Transcending the Myths

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University of Toronto Press, 1999 - Self-Help - 243 pages
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During the past decade, media and medical forces have combined to create an alarming view of pregnant mothers who use illicit drugs. The result has been increased state control of these women and their infants. This in-depth study is the first in Canada to look at how mothers who use illicit drugs regard the laws, medical practices, and social services that intervene in their lives.

Focusing on practices in western Canada, Susan C. Boyd argues that licit and illicit drug categories are artificial and dangerous and that the evidence for neonatal syndrome (NAS) is suspect and ideologically driven. She shows that women of colour and poor women are treated much more harshly by authorities, that current regulations erode women's civil liberties, and that social control is the aim of drug policy and law. The study highlights mothers' views of the NAS program at Sunny Hill Hospital for Children in Vancouver.

Writing from a critical feminist perspective, Boyd exposes some surprising social fictions - those that separate 'good' and 'bad' drugs, as they do 'good' and 'bad' mothers.

 

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Contents

Maternal Drug Use
25
A Biographical Prof1le
41
Illicit Drug Use and Mothering
59
Conclusion
72
LongTerm NAS Problems
88
Its the Drugs
103
Pregnancy Birth and Social Services
122
A Maintenance Program
142
Alternatives to Current Drug Treatment
160
Arrest and Prison
173
Race Class and Gender
189
Conclusion
204
REFERENCES
219
INDEX
239
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About the author (1999)

SUSAN C. BOYD is Assistant Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University.

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