Press Release - Drugs Pregnancy and Parenting Part II

April 29, 2010

NAPW and NYU to Provide Latest Research on Drugs, Pregnancy, and Parenting for Professionals in Child Welfare, Medicine, and Law
Part II of Popular Continuing Education Program to Examine What Happens to Children of Drug-Using Parents


CONTACT: Emily Whitfield,, (917) 686-4542 Cassandra Burrows,, (773) 307-9686

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
NEW YORK – At an afternoon workshop at New York University School of Law this Thursday, April 29th, more than 200 professionals in the fields of child welfare, social work, medicine, and law will hear from nationally recognized experts about the research on issues of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and beyond.

The gathering (and related events taking place tomorrow) are part of an ongoing effort to challenge assumptions, identify valuable resources, and generate hope about families when drug use is an issue, according to National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), one of the conveners.

The program, which takes place on Thursday, April 29th from 12-5 p.m. at NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square North in lower Manhattan, is presented by NAPW, NYU School of Law, and NYU Silver School of Social Work. Continuing Education Credits in the areas of law, social work, and CASAC (certified alcohol and substance abuse counseling) will be offered.

“Hard-working people in the fields that deal with drug use generally learn about the issue from popular culture, and rarely have the opportunity to hear from experts,” said Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director of NAPW. “As we see it, the question of how best to respond to the issue of drug use in families has never been about whether the professionals involved lack concern, but rather whether they have had access to evidence-based research.”

The dynamic program, Drugs, Pregnancy, and Parenting: What the Experts Have to Say—Part II will feature nationally renowned researchers, social workers, and legal experts from around the country, as well as parents in recovery who can speak from direct experience. The program—which follows up on a popular conference presented by the same conveners last year—will specifically focus on the question of what happens when children remain with parents who use drugs. Last year’s conference brought researchers together to address such issues as the effect of prenatal exposure to drugs. (A video of a talk at that conference given by the renowned researcher and pediatrician Deborah Frank, MD is available at

The distinguished presenters and hosts of Thursday’s event include: Marylou Behnke, MD; Fonda Davis Eyler, PhD; Martin F. Guggenheim, JD; Carl L. Hart, PhD; Sabra Jackson; Gretchen Lord, LCSW; Lynn M. Paltrow, JD; and Jane M. Spinak, JD. More information about the NYU program, including speaker bios, is available here.

In addition to convening the NYU program, on Wednesday some of these same experts will be presenting two special sessions on the same topics for groups of professionals; the first at Roosevelt Hospital and the second as part of a “Lunch and Learn” program for New York State Family Court judges and staff at Manhattan Family Court. The court program will also be broadcast to all family courts in the state via closed-circuit television. The meetings were requested by each of the groups. NAPW’s Paltrow noted: “We are delighted to be collaborating with these vital institutions and to have an opportunity to explore the value of evidence-based research in the provision of both health care and family justice.”

These events convene as courts around the country are considering many of the same questions, Paltrow added. In Kentucky, for instance, the state’s Supreme Court is currently weighing treatment versus punishment in the case of a woman whose child tested positive for cocaine. Meanwhile, a unanimous South Carolina Supreme Court recently acknowledged that current research has found that “cocaine is no more harmful to a fetus than nicotine use, poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, or other conditions commonly associated with the urban poor.”

NAPW’s mission is to secure the human and civil rights, health, and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and ensuring that families are not needlessly separated based on medical misinformation.