Jackson: ‘The mother’s rights end where baby’s rights begin’

Published 2:10 pm Friday, July 12, 2019

By Angela Jackson

Guest Columnist

In reference to a letter to the editor Saturday, July 6, 2019 entitled Treatment by the Book authored by John Williamson.

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Mr. Williamson gently chided me, disagreeing with my statement to the Middlesboro City Council concerning the Subutex, Narcan/Suboxone clinic on Cumberland Ave. and 20th St. at the Apex building under the guise of women’s health.

To think after all the trouble Middlesboro residents went to, trying to run the suboxone clinic on Cumberland Ave. and the one on 19th St., out of town…ARH and Mr. Williamson got a grant from University of Kentucky through the HARM Reduction program, to do research on the effects of Subutex, Narcan and Suboxone on pregnant, drug addicted young women.

I would like to know how they smuggled this particularly objectionable suboxone clinic in past code enforcement.

To me, this clinic is just another scam perpetrated on the most vulnerable human beings in our town, in a lame attempt to legitimize suboxone.

I disagree with Mr. Williamson when he surmised my statements were made due to lack of info. The info that upset me the most came directly from Mike Slusher, the Administrator at ARH Middlesboro. Mr. Slusher stated, (like Mr. Williamson with little or no empathy for the babies in my opinion) that when the babies are delivered and there are no obvious complications, the babies are sent home after five days. Mr. Slusher stated that in five days the drugs, (in this case suboxone) are for the most part out of their systems and the mothers or whoever receives the baby is told the baby will be “extra cranky” for a month.

I disagree with this assumption. The Maryland Addiction Recovery Center states: Suboxone is an excellent drug for aiding an opiate addict through withdrawal symptoms. It works wonderful in that manner. However, long-term suboxone use causes a lot of medical issues.

Many long term suboxone users claim getting off suboxone is harder than getting off heroin or oxycontin. Why? Because, unlike an intensely painful five to seven days or even 14 days detox from opioids, Suboxone can stay in the body for eight or nine days.

Detox from suboxone can last weeks or months, bringing not only painful physical issues but also highly concerning psychological issues.

Patients complain of horrific bouts of depression. Addicts complain that the withdrawal symptoms of suboxone (unlike heroin or oxycontin) comes in waves and can last for weeks or months.

How does this sound any better than being dependent on heroin or prescription painkillers?

And how can any intelligent human being surmise that a newborn baby ejected from the womb of an addicted mother not feel all these symptoms from a drug that he/she was exposed to literally from the time it was conceived. It is my belief that to do suboxone experiments on pregnant women and their unborn children is heartless and cruel beyond belief. There is little or no regard for the babies. They are collateral damage. The sole purpose of this heinous experiment in my opinion is to come to a biased conclusion that drug addicts, even pregnant ones, must keep taking suboxone.

Studies with adults show how hard it is to get off Suboxone. Yet babies are sent home to gold cold turkey, and the costs of this tragedy are passed on to the taxpayers.

Mr. Slusher told me that I should expect that some addicts will be on Suboxone for the rest of their lives. He likened it to diabetes, or high blood pressure and cholesterol medicine. When he said that, I could see where this study was going.

No empathy again for baby. Only apathy. Mom’s human Guinea pigs, babies are collateral damage. The unsurmountable costs passed on to us. It is hard to believe that anyone could be profiting off this experiment. Where did the money come from? There are no winners, only tragedy.

Mr. Williams gave a direct quote from the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecologists Committee opinion #711,2017…. For pregnant women with opioid use disorder, (addiction) opioid agonist pharmacotherapy (Suboxone) is the recommended therapy and is preferable to medically supervised withdrawal because withdrawal is associated with high relapse rates which lead to worse outcomes.

This statement is confusing. Are you using Suboxone to help pregnant moms withdraw from drugs? Are you saying Suboxone is more successful in breaking the drug habit than long-term care and supervision? That other methods to get mom’s off drugs do not work?

What is your record of suboxone getting anyone off drugs? Long-term suboxone use is dangerous. How long does it take you to free a mother from addiction? I believe these statistics are again skewed in favor of Big Pharma.

I also stand by my statement that moms should ethically be informed that although the doctor prescribed suboxone to them and there is no accountability on the part of the physician or nurse practitioner, that babies with Suboxone in their little systems raise the attention of authorities. Even if the drug is prescribed for treatment of opioid dependence, moms may face charges of child abuse, neglect or child endangerment resulting in legal or criminal time or even removal of baby from mom. (Ref: American Addiction Center, and a local lawyer and member of Middlesboro City Council who on occasion defends such moms.)

Mr. Williamson please don’t let your heart be troubled concerning my statement that when a woman chooses to have a baby while she is addicted to drugs loses her rights where that child’s rights begin. I’m not giving up on mom. My point is that when you are giving women harmful drugs you are giving her baby drugs. The baby is helpless.

A baby cannot defend itself against this onslaught. That baby is in a womb from hell addicted from the moment of conception. And I wonder if doctors consider the babies and tell these moms that there are better alternatives such as checking into a facility and getting clean for baby.

Consider the abortion controversy. Our state, through strict abortion laws for women who choose not to have their babies, has effectively decided the age-old question who comes first, The Chicken or The Egg?

Do you believe that women who choose, choose to have their babies are not every bit responsible to make sure that egg turns into a healthy baby? Indeed, the mother’s rights end where baby’s rights begin. (Example: The smoking ban passed in Middlesboro decided smoker’s rights end where other’s rights to breathe clean air begin.)

Finally, as a big old sinner, I object to Mr. Williamson breaking out the scriptures on me. I disagree with Mr. Williamson’s version of the good Samaritan. Allow me to tell my own Samaritan Scenario:

A young doctor leaving his suboxone clinic at the end of the day finds a young drug-addicted pregnant mom, jonesing (withdrawing) on the sidewalk, gagging, puking, shaking, writhing in pain from horrible muscle cramps.

Many people have passed her by. Some making cruel remarks. The young doctor however rushes to her side. After checking her out, he hands her a suboxone strip and a glass of water. Here take one of these. It will make you feel better. I bet you can’t eat just one. When their gone come see me for more.

Just as the helpless lost lamb starts to take the suboxone strip, a feeble shaky voice asks the young mother to stop. Please, the old coot said, please do not take that suboxone strip. There are other alternatives that are better for not just you but for your baby too. This young doctor could choose to refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine “high-risk OB” specialist for treatment. Or a facility where you could safely break your addiction not at the hazard to your baby’s health. I will take you myself the old coot said. I call that old coot The Good Samaritan.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to this fractured scripture and a real doctor are purely coincidental.

Mr. Williamson allow me to run Mark 10:14 by you: “When Jesus saw it, he was much displeased and said unto man, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not. For such is the Kingdom of God.”

What is the mortality rate among these babies?

Is this a double-blind study with placebo?

Do you have rehabilitation statistics on mothers successfully getting off suboxone?

Is this study biased and do you take into consideration diversion? Diversion is where prescriptions are sold on the street. Suboxone goes for $1,800 a script.

Are you a scientist? A professional researcher? Do you just administer Subutex, Narcan, and Suboxone? What is your plan? How do you correlate your findings?

I am happy to debate anyone about this most important issue, as long as the Daily News will allow us discourse. Do not forget that Bell County is the lead county in a nationwide suit against Big Pharma. Middlesboro is ground zero in this battle.