Just because an addicted woman has a baby does not mean her cravings go away. In fact, the stress of trying to care for an infant may cause her to seek the relief that drugs might seem to offer her. But while her body may be able to tolerate the drugs, if she is nursing, she could be causing harm to her newborn and even risking killing him or her.
Most illicit drugs wind up in breast milk in varying quantities. Cocaine in particular presents a risk to infants because it stays in their bodies much longer than it does in the mother’s body. If a mother uses cocaine repetitively, then the baby may die of an overdose as the dosage accumulates in the small body. In a Michigan case, a woman used cocaine two or three times one day and then breastfed her five-month-old baby. The medical examiner said that the baby died of cocaine intoxication.
"It could be said that the time that a woman is pregnant or nursing are the most important times in her life to live a clean and sober lifestyle," commented Bobby Wiggins, spokesperson for Narconon drug rehab and education. Narconon is an international organization dedicated to the elimination of drug addiction through drug rehabilitation and drug education. "During this time, a woman harms someone other than herself with her drug use: her helpless newborn or the baby growing inside her. Family members around a pregnant or nursing woman who suffers from addiction must pull out all the stops to get her the help she needs to stop using drugs."
Methamphetamine is another killer drug when administered via breast milk. In the last several years, one mother in Georgia and two mothers in California have been jailed for killing their babies with methamphetamine.
"A mother with a young child, addiction to illicit drugs – this is a dangerous combination," added Wiggins. "We owe it to our youngest citizens to eliminate addiction by providing effective drug rehabilitation. At Narconon centers around the world, seven out of ten graduates stay sober after they go home, meaning there are more alert, capable mothers returned to their children after they have been to Narconon."
Visit www.narconon.org for more information about the Narconon drug rehab program.