Suspected increase in pregnant drug addicts of serious concern: Dutch NGO

Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy
Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancyPhoto: Inferis / Wikimedia Commons

According to NGO hotline Zwanger en Verslaafd, there is a "worrying significant" increase in the number of pregnant women or mothers in the Netherlands that are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The hotline is therefore calling for mandatory contraceptives for addicted women who can't take proper care of their children, RTL Nieuws reprots. 

Over the past decade, the hotline dealt with 285 cases of addicted mothers, though Zwanger en Verslaafd believes that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many women never ask for help with their addiction. In nearly 45 percent of the cases that ended up with the hotline, the children had to be removed from their mother's custody. In 21 percent of the cases the women lost custody of her children, some immediately after the child was born. Almost half of the women were addicted to cocaine. Many were addicted to more than one substance. 

"This is drastic and undesirable, not just for the child and the mother, but also for society", Koen Burgerhout of mental health institute Antes, under which the hotline falls, said to the broadcaster. "We have a strong suspicion that a group of addicted pregnant never get in touch with aid during pregnancy. Lately the number of addicted mothers and their problems increased. Every mother and every baby is one too many."

That is why the mental health institute and hotline is advocating mandatory contraception for women for whom all other measures failed. "The figures show it is about 5 percent of this group."