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The article Women's Perspectives on Screening for Alcohol and Drug Use in Prenatal Care by Sarah Roberts and Amani Nuru-Jeter (2010) concerns the problem of the screening policy consequences toward the pregnant women. On the one hand, screening is necessary in order to control drug and alcohol use and to prevent some problems with the future children’s health. On the other hand, it may have unfavorable influence on those who attend prenatal care because some women use drugs and alcohol, and they do not want to reveal it. The authors of the article provided their research through the twenty interviews and two focus groups that included pregnant women who represented different social, racial and language groups. The result is a correlation of decision to attend prenatal care with fear of the screening that can reveal the drug use. Most of all, women are afraid of legal separation from their child because of the results of screening. For another thing, they do not want some social (the stigma of drug user) and psychological (the judgment of prenatal care providers) consequences of the positive results of the screening. In such a way, most of the women who use drugs avoid prenatal care because of this fear or, even if they attend it and screening shows the positive result, they feel fear, embarrassment, and shame. It may cause some additional problems for the child except those from drugs and alcohol use.
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The article has some strong and weak sides. Its weaknesses are the small scale of the research and, especially, the dominance of the European women in it. Certainly, women from other cultures can demonstrate some differences from those of European cultural field. That is why the research needs much bigger cultural and racial diversity in order to receive more general results. Besides, for the first time there is no need for such generalization. The article only covers the problem of connection between the screening as the necessary procedure and the decision to attend prenatal care. The main strength of the research is that the authors are the first who deal with this problem and allow women to participate in the issue discussion. The article opens the way for the pregnant women to realize their attitude to the state policy concerning them – it ensures their adequate response, which is the condition of the successful prenatal care realization.
Due to the strengths of the article, the results of the research are very important for the today's society. The pressure of the state regarding the drug use issue can imply some negative consequences toward the children whose mothers do not attend prenatal care or get stress because of the conditions of its attendance. That is why the authors offer some useful directions for the development and further realization of the research results. First of all, the state has to provide clear screening policy in order to avoid fear of legal consequences. Secondly, the prenatal care personnel do not have to judge those women who need some help – it may decrease the psychological pressure. As for the social fear, the medics have to keep confidentiality when they use the results of the screening. In such a way, more women will be able to overcome some doubts to get a professional medical help from the prenatal care providers. The researchers, in their turn, have to involve much more social, racial, and economic groups of women to get much more general results in order to falsify or verify the findings of the article by Roberts and Nuru-Jeter. Consequently, this research has a different influence on many groups of people, and it proposes some new expectations from each of them. The liberalization of the screening policy must have a response from the women who will start to attend prenatal care more frequently. At the same time, the researchers have to develop this theme in order to keep the problem under control. As for the medics, they have to be the most responsible in this situation because they represent the medium part between the patients and the administration.
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