This video is based on a lecture that Dr. Deborah A. Frank, Pediatrician gave on February 11th 2009 at a continuing education program entitled Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting: What the Experts in Medicine, Social Work and Law Have to Say.

Deborah Frank, M.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, where she has taught since 1981. She is also the Founder and Director of the Grow Clinic at Boston Medical Center, and Principal Investigator of the Children's Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program ("C-SNAP"). C-SNAP's goal is to monitor the impact of policy changes on nutrition, growth and development of low-income children, ages 0-3 years. She also conducts research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and has given testimony to the United States and Massachusetts House and Senate.

Dr. Frank has written numerous peer-reviewed and published scientific articles and papers including, Deborah A. Frank et al., Maternal Cocaine Use: Impact on Child Health and Development, 40 Advances in Pediatrics 65 (1993). She is also the author of the seminal meta analysis published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (“JAMA”), one of the most distinguished peer-reviewed medical journals in the United States. This comprehensive, systematic, and authoritative analysis of the medical research assessing the relationship between maternal cocaine use during pregnancy and adverse developmental consequences for the fetus and child concluded that:

"[T]here is no convincing evidence that prenatal cocaine exposure is associated with any developmental toxicity difference in severity, scope, or kind from the sequelae of many other risk factors. Many findings once thought to be specific findings of in utero cocaine exposure can be explained in whole or in part by other factors, including prenatal exposure to tobacco, marijuana, or alcohol and the quality of the child’s environment."

In light of these findings, the JAMA researchers condemned as “irrational[]” policies that selectively “demonize” in utero cocaine exposure and that target pregnant cocaine users for special punitive sanctions. Deborah A. Frank et al., Growth, Development, and Behavior in Early Childhood Following Prenatal Cocaine Exposure: A Systematic Review, 285 JAMA 1613 (2001). (1)

Dr. Frank has also served on numerous committees and advisory boards and has received many awards recognizing her dedication and advocacy for children in need. Dr. Frank received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Testimony of Deborah A. Frank, M.D., Before the United States Sentencing Commission, Feb 25, 2002 (2)

Testimony of Dr. Deborah A. Frank, M.D., Before the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, U.S. Senate Food Stamp Program: Prescribing a Miracle Drug (3)

"The argument is not that it’s O.K. to use cocaine in pregnancy, any more than it’s O.K. to smoke cigarettes in pregnancy. Neither drug is good for anybody. But cocaine use in pregnancy has been treated as a moral issue rather than a health problem."

Susan Okie, The Epidemic That Wasn’t, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 26, 2009 (4)


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