Drugs and pregnancy — ‘tremendous stigma’ stops many women from coming forward


CBC News Posted: Oct 30, 2017 10:29 PM ET

About 30 pregnant or parenting women in Sudbury are trying to recover from drug addiction with the help of a special program.

But that number doesn’t seem to reflect what’s happening on the city’s maternity ward.

Last week, CBC Sudbury brought you a story about the number of opioid-addicted newborns being up at Health Sciences North. A doctor at the hospital says it now admits about one new case a week.

Monarch Recovery Services offers a pregnancy and parenting outreach program — but clients come to the program on their own, without a referral.

“You know what? We’re probably missing a large group of women that are pregnant and using opioids,” said spokesperson Jasmine Beange.

“Listening to the statistics at Health Sciences North, who are struggling with opioids, we’re not seeing those stats in our program.”

Beange says there is no shortage of work.

Currently, Monarch Recovery Services is serving about 30 women who are drug-dependent, and either pregnant or parenting young children. Beange says there’s tremendous stigma around drugs and pregnancy —  and that makes it very hard for people to come forward.

“There’s a lot of guilt and a lot of shame involved,” she said.

“And as a society I think we certainly don’t help. There needs to be more education out there around addiction. I haven’t met one client in the 13-14 years that I’ve been working in this field that woke up one day and said, ‘I want to be an addict for the rest of my life’.”

Beange says about 70 per cent of women in the program are struggling with addictions to, opioids as opposed to other drugs.

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