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Justice System

Recommendation 4d: State and federal officials in the USA should abandon policies that punish opioid use, opioid use disorder, or opioid agonist therapy during pregnancy.

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     Pregnancy-focused punishments create barriers to disclosing illicit opioid or other substance use or entering treatment. Penalizing opioid agonist therapy for addiction during pregnancy on the theory that it harms the developing fetus has no medical basis. The Commission recommends that states pursuing such policies abandon them and instead focus on establishing priority access pathways to high-quality services in both the pregnancy and post-delivery period.