Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A life worth living

A few months after our daughter was born, my husband decided we should watch Trainspotting. Having enjoyed the film previously, I thought that would be a great idea and it was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. That is, until the scene where they find the baby dead in the cot. I promptly burst into uncontrollable tears and very nearly threw up! I entirely blame post-pregnancy hormones for this outburst. 

I wasn't crying because I thought it was real but because I knew it could be real. There must be plenty of loved children living with drug users who lose control occasionally. I have worked in prison with drug users and I know that the majority are 'nice' people. They don't mean any harm but they are addicts. Their addiction drives them and nothing will get in the way of that. Hopefully, one day they reach a point where they realise they need help, the help is available and they don't come off the rails along the way. The vast majority though, will continue using drugs, throughout prison spells or until they take too much accidentally, or their body can't handle what it once could and they overdose. Admittedly, I haven't worked with female drug users so I have no idea of their perspective.

the drug syringe needle pictures, backgrounds and imagesAccording to research in 2009, more and more babies are being born dependent on drugs. Indeed, in 2008, five babies were born each day to drug addict mothers and three of those five would themselves suffer withdrawal symptoms on being born. What kind of a life are these children born into and what prospects of a loving, warm family and a decent education do they really have? Will they just end up being the new drug users we see day after day being brought into prison for petty crimes?

I remember reading an article in The Guardian last year about an American woman paying for a UK drug user to be sterilised. Barbara Harris, from the US charity Project Prevention suggests that female drug users should be sterilised, or put on long term contraceptives. At the time that this was in the news there was an uproar about Harris' ideals suggesting even that she was akin to Hitler. However, does she have a point? If female drug users were offered long term contraceptives, it would massively reduce the amount of babies born 'addicted' to drugs and the cost of foster care for those children, not to mention the cost of all the babies not born, those who are aborted. Project Prevention pays drug users to be sterilised or be put on long term contraceptives and I think this is the problem that most people have.

Ultimately though, it is one thing to make choices about drug use which effect your own life, but an entirely different thing to be so destructive with your child's life and their future. So, I end with this article from The Telegraph. Food for thought I think.


  1. Food for thought indeed,

    I worked with a someone who choose to adopt. they adopted a little boy whose mother was an addict. Some time later they were offered a little girl who was the sister of the boy, they accepted. Then last year they were offered another little boy from the same parents, even they were told not to have any more kids and both still were addicted. The third time the pregnancy went under the radar of social services, they only became aware of the baby after a gasman had to go to the house and saw the baby crying on the sofa while the parents were out.. they were offered the child and of course they accepted, knowing tis time the likelihood of the third child having difficulties are high...

    So, yes, like the writer of the Telegraph article i believe they should be removed, and Yes, if they want to be sterilised and can make the decision then let them..

    Draconian? Perhaps but the parents can choose to be addicts the babies can’t..

    Sorry, the comment is a bit long i know....

  2. Addiction is a shocking thing. Nothing is more important than the next fix which is why children are at such risk of neglect. I think that Barbara Harris might be right. If a drug user is willing to accept money for sterilisation, then they probably shouldn't be having children.

  3. The drug users are making a choice to be sterilised so I agree that they can be supported if that is what they want to do. At times, the media can make mountains out of molehills.


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