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American Medical Association Wants To End Mandated Reporting Of Pregnant Women Who Abuse Drugs

The American Medical Association (AMA) has called for an end to the practice of automatically reporting women who abuse controlled substances during pregnancy during its 2023 House of Delegates meeting.

The AMA will now promote changes to child protection laws with the goal of ending mandatory reporting of women who are found to be abusing drugs, which the organization believes can deter pregnant women with addiction problems from seeking out health care due to fear of custody loss or incarceration, according to an AMA press release. The organization called for women to be reported to child protective services when clinical teams identify protective concerns, rather than automatically when a woman tests positive on a toxicology test or is diagnosed with substance abuse.

“Pregnant people in pain or struggling with substance use need comprehensive support and treatment, not judgment,” Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, chair of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force, said in the release. “But judgment is often what they unfairly receive from some laws and statutes that imply any indication of substance use by a pregnant individual is automatically representative of child abuse. Research has found that non-punitive public health approaches to treatment result in better outcomes for both pregnant individuals and babies.”

The AMA also supports “harm reduction” measures to combat the opioid crisis including needle exchanges and safe injection sites, which allow users of illegal drugs to obtain drug paraphernalia free of charge and use them in a monitored environment.

The AMA did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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