Feature: Arkansas Law Punishing Mothers Whose Newborns Test Positive for Drugs Accomplishes Little, Study Finds

As legislators at statehouses across the country ponder laws that criminalize or civilly punish drug use by pregnant women, researchers in Arkansas have evaluated the working of a similar law there -- and found it wanting. Meanwhile, bills are pending in at least five states -- Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming -- that would do the same thing. Proponents of such laws portray them as aimed at "saving the children," but critics argue such laws do little for children and are really aimed at controlling drug use by punishing young, poor, and minority women.

In 2005, Arkansas legislators passed a bill popularly known as Garrett's Law, after a baby supposedly born with methamphetamine in his system. [Editor's Note: Be wary of any law named after a victim; they seem to pass easily in a rush of emotion with science and reason brushed aside.] Under Garrett's Law, the mothers of newborn infants who test positive for illegal drugs are presumed to be guilty of parental neglect under the state's civil code, and medical personnel can report them to police and child protective service workers.

Last fall, at the request of policy analysts studying the law, the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services commissioned a report on how the law had been implemented and what its impact had been. Among that report's key findings:

  • There were 412 referrals under Garrett's Law in the 12-month period examined. With some 38,405 births recorded during that period, Garrett's Law referrals amounted to a rate of 10.7 per every thousand births.
  • Marijuana was by far the most commonly found drug, mentioned in just over half of all cases, while amphetamines and cocaine were found in about 25% of cases and heroin, barbiturates, or prescription drugs were found in about 7% of cases.
  • In two-thirds of cases, "no health problems" were reported in the infants. On the other extreme, eight infants died, but there is no evidence that the mother's drug use was the cause of death. Marijuana was most likely to be associated with no health problems, while health problems were more likely to be associated with stimulant use by the mother. Instances of death appear to be most commonly associated with barbiturate use.
  • A finding of child neglect was found to be "substantiated" in two-thirds of all cases referred and a Protective Services case was formally opened in 62% of all cases.
  • Slightly less than one-fourth (23%) of children involved with referrals were removed from the family home. The drug most associated with removal of children was cocaine, followed closely by amphetamines.
  • Only 5% of children removed from parents received any medical treatment related to the alleged maltreatment, although the report says it does not have complete numbers.
  • Either 6.6% or 20% of mothers reported received drug treatment. Again, the report complains of sloppy reporting and does not resolve the different figures.
  • Some 64% of mothers reported received some sort of "service," but in most cases that "service" was only drug testing.

"This report basically says there is nothing in the data that supports the notion these kids have health problems," said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. "This law is not about children's health, but has everything to do with controlling drug use in certain populations. They say people who use drugs are bad parents, but I say show me some evidence-based research that documents the extent to which drug use and parenting ability are truly associated," she said. "You have 72 million people admitting to having used marijuana -- are they all bad parents?" Paltrow continued.

While some analysts supported the law because of the broad goals of protecting the health and welfare of infants and their mothers it is supposed to advance, even they had serious concerns about its impact. "While it is critically important that women who are pregnant and giving birth and have an illegal drug in their system need to be looked at closely -- it is an indicator that something is going on -- there are several problems with Garrett's Law," said Paul Kelly, senior policy analyst for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, who sits on the Garrett's Law advisory group. "One thing we have found is that there are a lot of women who are not being tested. That means we are relying on the judgment of the attending physician to decide who is and is not being tested."

Kelly raises an interesting question about who is being subjected to the law. The report on the law's working does not provide a race and class breakdown of who is being reported, although that information is presumably readily available. The report does provide a breakdown by age, and not surprisingly, most of the women reported under the law were in their twenties.

"Another problem with the law is that in many cases, the finding of substance use is the sole cause of the finding of mistreatment," Kelly continued. "They may have other children who are doing well, are well-cared for, doing well in school, yet they may be taken from their mother because of substance use without any consideration of other factors involved."

The report's low figures on treatment for women in the report -- either 6.6% or 20%--also raise concerns. "There is a terrible lack of treatment available to these women," said Kelly. "We take their children away from them, yet we are not providing appropriate treatment. Are we here to help or punish? This law has had some consequences that need to be corrected."

An effort to do just that is just getting under way early in the legislative season. "We're in the middle of trying to revise Garrett's Law to make it a little less punitive and more family-friendly," said Cynthia Crone, executive director of the Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES), which, among other things, runs the state's largest treatment program specifically aimed at mothers suffering from substance abuse.

Advocates are in the final stages of drafting reform language and now have a sponsor in the statehouse, Kelly said. "There are several things we are looking at. We don't want the fact that an illegal substance was found in the child's body at birth to be the sole determinant of whether there is child abuse going on," he said. "If the only finding is that these women have drugs in their system, they should not be placed on the child abuse registry, but given the opportunity to seek treatment. We don't want to ruin their ability to care for their children and have gainful employment because of making foolish mistakes."

"This report doesn't find a strong association between any kind of prenatal exposure to drug use and health problems in the infant," said Paltrow. "For legislators to focus on maternal drug use as the primary threat to children's health when there are eight million children without health insurance is absurd. If we focus on things like this, it distracts our attention from much larger issues, like the 46 million uninsured, the lack of treatment, no paid maternity leave, those fundamental problems. They say it's about the kids, but the result is not more funding or treatment; instead, we're out arresting mothers."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Consent for such a test?

Can a mother refuse to have her new born tested for drugs?

Should a doctor who is bound by the hippocratic oath to do no harm be allowed to conduct one of these tests, when they obviously result in a great deal of harm to the patient and the child?

Are mothers who can afford private midwifes tested?

This whole things reeks to high hell.

Removal of Children at Birth Who Test Positive for Drigs

I live and work in California. babies are tested at birth and removed if found positive for any illegal drug. The mother is sent home and a case with Children's Services is opened. The mother receives counseling, referrals to programs if necessary and other social support services. After a time if she is not abusing drugs and appears to be doing OK the child is returned to her care. She is supported through this reunification period by therapist and other support persons. The mother is not automatically labeled an addict. The situation is monitored in the interest of the child, mother and any other children she may have.

does newborn testing for

does newborn testing for drugs apply in massachusetts also?

Remove of Children testing positive for drugs

The process is the same in Arkansas. It amazes me that people can be so ignorant as to think it is "OK" to do drugs while pregnant. I do foster care and I see what those drugs do to these children. If the mother does drugs while pregnant then the child should be removed. While they are given every opportunity to rectify the situation - few actually do. So, what does this tell you? I have a child that is now 2 (I got her at 3 days old) Mom tested positive -baby was negative. This was child number 6 for the mother and she has custody of none of them. The child was taken from me at 6 mths old and put with her mother at Arkansas Cares in LR. Within 6 weeks after dismissal from the program mom was testing positive again. So, at 14 months I got her back - she was a normal happy child when she left me at 6 months but is now having major behavior/anger issues due to what she has been through because the state was trying to protect the interests of the Mom. What about the rights of this precious child who now beats her head on the ceramic floor, pulls her hair out, fights you back etc at age 2. Did she deserve this in order to protect the rights of her mom?

first of all you dont say

first of all you dont say what kind of drugs she was positive with, second of all If she is a good mom then who is to say that the child isn't behaving this way due to being taken from her mom. You shouldn't be so judgemental.

What Tests?

Hey Law Makers. Just one time. Stop. Take a look at what you're doing! And while you're at it. Pull your heads out of you ass!

Wasted resources

Just think of the wasted resources used in this process, which could be more effective in other areas of health care. Prohibition in the 20's and 30's was pretty effective eh? The drug war is so effective that our prisons are overcrowded, thus providing more jobs (for a selective segment of society). Yea, let's try and get everyone to fess up that this "war" is not really about drugs so much as a convenient platform or springboard for many politically aspiring politicians. Maybe when we get the real truth out changes can happen.

martin holsinger's picture

marijuana and pregnancy

martin holsinger
My wife and pretty much all of her friends smoked marijuana during their pregnancies and birthings. They found it wonderfully effective for dealing with everything from nausea to hormone surges during pregnancy and--during the births themselves--marijuana was very helpful in integrating THAT whole intense process--and sharing it with their husbands and the midwives helped create a sense of group connectedness that demonstrably eased the birthing process--or would have demonstrably eased the birthing process, if it were legal to talk about that sort of thing. (Spiritual Midwifery is the book that chronicles those times, though the marijuana references have been edited out.)

My wife and her friends also used marijuana while nursing. We had a collective clinic and kept good track of the kids as far as weight, size, developmental markers, etc.--there were no anomalies of any kind, so I think it's safe to say that moderate marijuana use by childbearing women does not create medical/developmental problems for them or their children--only possible legal ones.

The kids are all grown up now. (My youngest will be thirty this year.) Some adopted marijuana use as they grew up, some abandoned it. Most are doing as well as can be expected in these tubulent, degenerate times. Many have kids of their own, who likewise by and large are medically and developmentally normal.

Trying to say there's something inherently wrong with marijuana use is like insisting that the sun goes around the earth.

support of Garrett's Law

I in full suport of garrett's law stand not just as a person in the legal field but also as a mother who;'s son is in the military and in the process of going through a divorce. While away my sons wife has become pregnant and in full use of meth. Yes I support this law to have the baby tested at birth for addiction and for my son to follow full process of custody of the baby at birth. So if any one has a problem with garrett's law, then maybe your own life needs to be reevaluated. My grandchildren that come into this world needs full protection. And if in mature people use drugs, then it is only reasonable for the state to step in and take action as deemed necessary for the newborns being born.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE A VOICE FOR THE UNBORN BABIES......!!!!!!!!

garretts law

some people live to be meth heads or drunks pot is put on this earth by god it us not a cheimical but seems like you know it alls think you know it all me myself i dont smoke but wife did at wrong time,so now my new born baby girl is not with me and my wifethanks to abunch of people that dont do research so the the father gets to loose his pride &joy. thanks to your son for fighting for our freedom.while you support taking our freedom.
hating people like you that make me sick!!

Ignorance

This writer not only shows ignorance in their thought processes, but in their literacy skills. Maybe your baby is in a better place right now. I wish you luck in doing what you need to do in order to be reunited.

I agree this lady needs to

I agree this lady needs to look at what she is saying Just because her daughter in law did something wrong doesn't mean everyone is the same way I too went through a bunch of legal bull all because I smoked at the beginning of my pregnancy due to sickness. It's not right to stereotype.

immature?

let me start by saying that if anyone intends on being a voice for the unborn babies of the world, they should probably be able to speak in a more intelligent manner. i believe the word you were looking for is IMMATURE, not in mature. however, i think you are wrong to label all drug users in such a way. i am grown woman, who works 40 hours a week, pays my bills on time, and am in all other ways a productive member of society. i am not some uneducated, unmotivated, slacker sponging off of the government. i also happen to be a pregnant marijuana smoker. for all those people who just jumped onto their soap boxes in order to lecture and shame me, settle down. please believe that the instant i found out about my little bundle of joy, i immediately began researching the dangers of EVERYTHING. i have read studies on the effects of not only my smoking but on many other things, including otc drugs, dying my hair, drinking soda, and even sex. i have found no indication that my little angel is in any way harmed by my thc intake. while i do acknowledge that many drugs are dangerous to babies and should be tested for, the problem is none stay in the system as long as marijuana does. a woman's system will be clear of deadly things such as cocaine or meth long before that of a mother who smoked a joint. for someone to make the assumption that i will be an unfit parent because i smoke is ridiculous. i am quite confident that marijuana will not impair my ability to provide a stable, healthy, and loving life for my son.

support of Garrett's Law

I in full suport of garrett's law stand not just as a person in the legal field but also as a mother who;'s son is in the military and in the process of going through a divorce. While away my sons wife has become pregnant and in full use of meth. Yes I support this law to have the baby tested at birth for addiction and for my son to follow full process of custody of the baby at birth. So if any one has a problem with garrett's law, then maybe your own life needs to be reevaluated. My grandchildren that come into this world needs full protection. And if in mature people use drugs, then it is only reasonable for the state to step in and take action as deemed necessary for the newborns being born.

SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE A VOICE FOR THE UNBORN BABIES......!!!!!!!!

I just registered for this site, so this is who Iam if anyone would like to know..

No, the government should not tell us how to live

It sounds as if in your case, the state would probably have cause to intervene without laws like this. The full circumstances should be taken into account before the state becomes involved with any family and the threshold should be high. Laws already exist to protect children form harmful and neglectful parents. If your son is a good person, then he can sue for custody of his child.
There are many things besides drugs that are not in a child's best interest. Should we also pass laws that strip custody from parents whose diet is less than ideal during pregnancy? Or who allow their children to eat too much candy (or maybe any junk food at all)? Or let them watch too much TV?

Justification

I agree that many practices are not in a child's best interest, but you are simply justifying and making excuses for your drug use. That's called "denial." Have you checked out any 12-Step programs, such as AA or NA?

i dont understand if im for or against garrents law

how could a mother and child test negative for drugs in a urine test ( which i didnt even know we would be tested) (and have no problem with it but i never was asked permission or signed a consent form of anykind) a week and a half after i left the hospital dss shows up to take my children to foster care saying my newborns feces tested possitive for weed i know i didnt smoke and ther saying second hand smoke wouldnt cause it but how would i pass and her urine pass --- and if second hand smoke dont enter your system how could you get a contact high --i took a second drug tast and passed but my children are still in a home i know crack heads and meth heads and coke heads who themselves and there children came back possitive and the kept there kids why did the take mine saying there lifes were in imminent danger to stay with me! plese help me understand
b_zduniak@yahoo.com

Garretts law is illegle

My daughter gave birth to a healthy 6 lb 5 oz baby girl on Oct.4th 2007, They were both tested for drugs without being asked and the baby was taken away. My daughter has 3 other children at home, all healthy and happy ranging in age from 16 to 8. DHS came to their home and inspected it. Nothing was found to prove that drugs were being used or that any kind of mistreatment was being done to the other children. The report stated that everything was a plus; clean and orderly. This has torn the entire family apart. How can the government just walk in and say you are an unfit parent just because you had a trace of mariguana in your system. I believe she had smoked a little a couple of weeks earlier to ease her nasuea and give her an appetite. Now they are telling her they may take her other children also. How have we let outselves be so controlled by the government that we don't even have the right to privacy in our own homes. She smokes cigarettes also, but goes outside as to not endanger the others in the home. That should prove she is a caring and loving parent. We all need to get together on this and stop it. It is unfair and unjust. You can email me with your feedback at dynogranny72837@yahoo.com Please feel free to be honest and help with any legal steps that can be taken to stop this mistreatment of loving and caring parents who do not deserve to be treated like criminals.

Do what??? A law makes an

Do what??? A law makes an action illegal. Laws are not illegal... they are the very definition of the law!!! Maybe you should stop trying to "buck" life and just join in the party! Laws are created so that society runs smoothly rather than everyone just doing their own thing. Along with our freedoms, comes responsibility for our actions. It sounds like that's something you're missing. Sorry to be so blunt, but maybe if you'd consider it, you'd find yourself lots happier.

Do What???

Are you as ignorant as you sound? or are you just trying to show off your ignorance? A law is not written in stone and can be changed. If enough people view a law as unconstitutional or unfair to their civil liberties, they CAN change it. Itls people like you who cannot think for yourself who take legislature as your gospel. Intelligent people who think for themselves and take our freedom seriously know that living in a free country(ha) means just that, doing their own thing. It is not just our right to question laws and change them when necessary, but it is our duty as a free America, you dumbass.

Amber Alert- Baby Boy Mitchell

I am a desperate mother seeking your advice. You may have recently seen my newborn, baby boy Mithell, on television. It has been broadcast nation wide. He was reportedly kidnapped and an amber alert was issued. One of the suspected kidnappers was myself ! Thats right. I was charged and put in jail because I would not give my baby to child protective services. They showed up at my door with paperwork containing nothing more than their own signatures, not one document was issued by a judge. The social worker informed me that my son had tested posetive in his drug screening. I was very upset and very confused as to how this had all taken place. I reviewed the results from the two test completed, he was tested thru urine and meconium. The results showed to be conflicting, stating on one that he was posetive for only benziadipine (urine), and the other posetive for only methanphedamine (meconium). Is that possable? I was very honest with my ob-gyn and made sure that every possable test and treatment had been given. I had ceased all things harmful to the baby, and took my new prescriptions regularly. I did everything exactly the way I was instructed, only to discover that all that I had been through was for nothing and CPS took my children anyway. Do you have any advice on my situation, anything would help. Thank you so much for your time and God bless.

BAD PARENT

My son had told me his mother and step dad are using drugs in the house. He wants them to quit using all drugs. He was talking about Meth, weed and booze!! His mother has only visitation rights and nobody, including the legal system seems to want to help. I contacted DHS and all they said was it is ok as long as she was not to High or Drunk to care for the child. Is this what kind of people we let make laws to protect children.

Sick-N-Tired

Va?

What about VA? Anybody had anything happen there?

Meconium

First comment - regardless if we agree with it or not. Marajuana is illegal, and when you are pregnant - what you take into your system, also goes to the baby. Most hospitals do route urine drug screens on all admits. We do this not only for the baby - because we need to know what's in his system - because of withdrawals, medications, etc..... BUT, we also are giving medication to the mother that could very well endanger the life of both the mother/baby if the two interacted. It is crazy to come to a hospital, with drugs in your system, and not disclose it. If the mother goes into stat c/s, she could be in danger if we aren't aware of any drugs she has taken.

Second comment - it is my understanding that the mother can test clean of marajuana - because it has already cleared her system, but the baby's meconium will show positive. Also, if there is any question, a hair can be taken from the baby and analyzed, and can tell if the mother intested any type of drug from as early as the first trimester.

Just is just for your information.

I am 18 year old, married,

I am 18 year old, married, and pregnant with my first kid.
I had found that marijuana was the only thing that help with my morning sickness. And from wanting to slap the crap out of my husband when I would have a mood swing. It has been a couple weeks since the last time I have smoked any pot. And I don't plan on doing it anymore. I would rather have my kid than have pot! Just knowing that there is a chance that I can lose my kid makes me not want to do marijuana.

Does smoking it mean that I am going to be a bad parent? Hell no! You are only a bad parent because you choose to be or don't care. In my honest opinion just because you have done any kind of drug doesn't make you a bad person/parent. Everyone tries something once.... twice if they like it! My mother smoked, drank, and took pills til she was seven months pregnant with me. (She didn't know til then.) And I am her healthiest kid! With her other two pregnancies she did NOTHING! She is and will always be a DAMN GOOD parent!

However, I don't think it is right that people do crack and meth while pregnant because those drugs have been known to cause birth defects and death. I know this because it happend to a friend of mine. I am for mothers to get help but not lose their kid. Unless the hard drug use continues.

And for all you people that dis on people that do drugs or have.... How many of you sorry SOB'S haven't tried drugs??? You look down on people for what they do but you are no saint and sure as hell aren't perfect either. Everyone makes mistakes... it's a part of life. My father is a police officer and I know for a fact that he has done drugs in his past.... does that make him a bad cop? No, just a normal person that made a mistake in his past. So, just because I have smoked pot doesn't mean I am going to be a bad mother or that I am a bad person!!! Here is a quote for you by a really smart man. "Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I am not perfect - and I don't live to be, but before you start pointing fingers.. make sure your hands are clean" -Bob Marley

Please don't call others

Please don't call others names. I am not a S*& of a B((&*. I also have never done drugs -- nor has my husband or the vast majority of my family and friends. You must have an interesting set of family and friends if you think drug use is common. May you find some peace in your life.

You said it!

You said pretty much all there is to say. I smoked while I was pregnant....and like you said it helped with the nausea. There were times that I couldn't even eat unless I smoked first. It also helped me to sleep. It is hard enough to sleep while your pregnant.....take marijuana out of the picture there would have been little eating and sleeping going on....then how healthy would have my baby been. My daughters APGAR rating was 8/9. Yes I passed my drug test because I quit smoking at 6 monts pregnant. I quit because I didn't want to lose my baby, but when I did the morning sickness associated with the first trimester came right back. My daughter is 1 year old now and her vocabulary is advanced....she also knows sign language, she is not deaf. No one can tell me that smoking marijuana while your pregnant will cause your unborn baby to be unhealthy or any less smart.

My blessed unborn baby

I fixing to turn twenty-two, I have a 1 year old and a baby due in 3 weeks. First of all I love my babies more then anything in this world, their father and I are constently makeing sure that they have everything that they want and need. They go without nothing and it will be like that forever till I die. Yes, I've smoked pot. I smoked pot the whole time that I was pregnant with my daughter, and whether it was for morning sickness or stress releif, even relaxation it didn't matter because it didn't put me into a state where I was "outta control". Guess what, my daughter is the most beautiful-smart-playful-loveable child that i have ever seen. Now I don't know what i would do if somebody took her away, I think that I am far from being a bad parent and I sure as hell don't claim to be the best but I just don't understand this whole thing that they will take your kids away if you test positive for marijauna, there just has to be something else rather then just that.

A little disturbed-

Pot is illegal. The law

Pot is illegal. The law says you can't use pot. The law specifically says if you use pot while pregnant and the baby is born with pot in his or her system, you child is removed. You may not agree with the law but if you choose to break the laws, then you accept the possible consequences.

As for your child being healthy despite your pot use, please count yourself blessed. Studies have shown that pot during pregnancy is very dangerous to the unborn baby and causes many long term problems. I think anyone who uses illegal drugs during pregnancy are selfish and are risking the health of their child.

Grandmas babys

my grandmother smoked pot with all of her kids!!They are all fine and healthy.I am 25 wks and I have smoked a few times ,I don't think it will hurt my baby but I am so scared they will take her away!!I don't plan on being positive when I give birth so she won't be positive either right??

my baby

when did this new pot law come out.

WAKE UP PARENTS

WAKE UP PARENTS!!! DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL SO WE SHOULD NOT BE FEEDING THEM TO CHILDREN!!! I DO BELIEVE THIS LAW IS THE BEST FOR OUR FUTURE OUR CHILDREN!!! MAYBE PARENTS WILL OPEN THERE EYES AND SEE ITS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU ANYMORE,AND MORE CHILDREN WILL BE UNHARMED BY A TERRIBLE LIFE ON DRUGS!!!

i have been there

wake up people! I personally tested positive for marijuana when i gave birth to a baby that was full term and born underweight and with lung problems because i used marijuana the whole time i was pregnant. They didnt take him away right away they monitored me. Then my use of marijuana and occasional meth landed me without a child. Yes thats right i lost all rights to my son and i dam well deserved it. All i had to do was stay clean and i couldnt do that for my son so anyone that cant do that suck it up and lose your fucking kid cuz thats what you dam well deserve. One year after losing all rights to my son i got pregnant with my daughter and finally had a wake up call got clean and have been clean from all drugs for 5 years now. Not one day goes by that i dont miss my son but i deserved to lose him and this law is needed. I personally know that a woman on marijuana will not take care of their child as well as they should. So all u people that think god put it here wake up. He doesnt say for mothers to use it pregnant or breastfeeding. it is wrong. period even if u do it once.

I too have been there in a different way!!!!

GOD BLESS YOU!! I AM A GRANDMOTHER THAT IS RAISING TWO BEAUTIFUL GRANDCHILDREN BECAUSE MY DAUGHTER IS A CRACK ADDIC.. HER SON IS 14. I HAVE HAD HIM SINCE HE WAS 18 MO. SHE HAD A LITTLE GIRL THAT WAS COCAINE POSITIVE AND IT TORE MY HEART OUT TO SEE THIS BABY GRAB AT THE AIR AND HER LITTLE EYES BULGING AND SHE SHOOK PROFUSLY AND JERKED AND CRIED AND WOULD WRENCH BACKWARDS BECAUSE OF THE PAIN OF WITHDRAWEL., WHILE HER MOTHER COULD PULL OUT HER CRACK PIPE AND GIVE HERSELF A QUICK FIX THIS CHILD SUFFERED!! IT MAKES ME SICK TO THINK THAT THESE WOMEN THAT SPREAD THERE LEGS HAVE NO CONCERN AT ALL ABOUT LIFE. MY SO CALLED DAUGHTER HAD ANOTHER LITTLE GIRL A YR. AGO AND STAYED CLEAN THE LAST 3 M0NTHS OF PREGNANCY AND BONDED WITH THE CHILD FOR 8 MONTHS AND ABANDED HER. I CAANOT RAISE ANOTHER SO HER OTHER GRANDMOTHER TOOK HER. THIS IS DISCUSTING TO ME. WHY DOESN'T THE STATE DO SOMETHING WHEN THESE CRACK WHORES COME IN AND GIVE BIRTH TO A DRUG POSITIVE CHILD AND ARE ALLOWED TO WALK OUT ONLY TO SELL THERE BODY TO ANOTHER PIECE OF TRASH AND THEN GET PREGNANT AGAIN.. AND THEN WE PAY FOR THIS.. AND THE CHILD SUFFERS . OH GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO SOCIETY? WHAT CAN WE DO TO FIGHT THIS AND WHAT IS THE GARRETT LAW? ONLY WORDS? COME ON PEOPLE LIFE IS PRECIOUS. I HAVE NOT SEEN MY DAUGHTER IN 4 MONTHS BUT JUST FOUND OUT SHE IS PREGNANT AGAIN..........WHY DO WE ALLOW THIS???

GRANDMOTHER SCREAMING OUT
FOR HELP!!!!!

Oh please

Oh please

Are you kidding me!?!

You use meth and place blame for your newborn's issues on weed? Get a grip lady and do some research and know your facts before you speak. It just makes you sound so goofy and uneducated.

Seriously

It's funny that these posts are usually at one end of the spectrum or another. Either you're a parent who has or does abuse drugs and can't seem to find much fault with it or you're working in the social services field or raising your children's kids because of drug abuse and can't believe anyone can justify drug use during pregnancy or while raising children.

It's pretty simple really. It's hard to give up addictions while pregnant. I struggled to quit smoking cigarettes and didn't always win my battle with staying away from caffeine while pregnant with my son, but it seemed more than a little unfair to my unborn child to stack the deck against him even before birth. It does not bode well for all the sacrifices you will have to make as a parent financially, emotionally etc. if you're not able to stay sober for the nine months it takes to make him.

Parenthood is about sacrifices and putting your child ahead or your own needs and wants. This should include abstaining from drug and alcohol abuse. If you can't abstain I don't want you raising children. I especially disagree with taking children away from biological parents for their own safety and then returning them to "test" whether the parent has become fit to raise kids. Children deserve safety and consistency and addicts can't provide either one. I know it seems very hard nosed and unsympathetic but I don't think you should get second chances with a child you've already damaged. We actually treat animals more humanely than we treat kids.

REALLY

I AGREE THAT A MOTHER SHOULD NOT BE USING ANY TYPE OF SUBSTANCE THAT COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON HER UNBORN CHILD. YOUR STATEMENT THAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GET SECOND CHANCES IS VERY UNFORGIVING AND SHOWS HOW LITTLE YOU ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT ADDICTION. ONE STRIKE AND YOUR OUT HUH?

18 Year Old Girl

As a 5 year old child going back and forth to court wasn't easy. My father fought everyday trying to take me away from my mother because she was abusing drugs. Getting removed from her was heart breaking. I cried every night, not knowing where she was or even receiving one phone call. What killed me the most was the fact that I could only see her on weekends, which were always supervised (like she was some kind of monster). Everyday I thought, was this the best way to go about the situation? As a child who has experienced it all, I can say that it not a good idea to take the child from the parent without getting that parent help first. Growing up the truth always come out only to make you resent that parent or even to face comflex within yourself. I'm not disagreeing with the fact that it is a bad idea to take the child from the parent but the only thing is you should help them because they are not always the "bad parent" everyone portrays them to be.

it realy is a shame

when i had my first child I was 17 and smoked weed and cigs, then when i had my second one 6 years latter. i only smoked cigs. my oldest is fine the youngest has health problems asthma, learning dissabilities and ADD. so tell me which is worst. And just two years after my second son was born my cousin who just smoked cigs," it's all she ever did in the way of drugs" and DHS took her baby because of the cigs that was in 1994. Also it says in the bible that god gave all seed bearing herb for our use and i believe god gave us medicines of his own making and it seems to me that it's better than man made drugs like phenagrin for morning sickness and my great grandmother was choctaw indian and they used canabis for lots of ailments, including and not limited to nausia.
I dont believe any drugs leagle or illeagle that man makes is all that safe but we do need the leagle ones, but only because we dont know how to use the ones god gave us. I no longer use any thing now but our goverment should concentrate more on the hard drug use and the booze in mothers than they do on weed.

thank you

the government is an idiot

I'm pregnant right now with my second child. I smoked weed with my first daughter and I smoke weed now. My two year old is already at a 3 year old level of thinking, potty trained, and she is beautiful and healthy. The government wants to control weed so bad that they'll say anything. There is no research any where that links marajuana directly to any health problems in people or un-born babies. Maybe if instead of trying not to look bad, the goverment would stop and take a look, they would realize that alcohol is more physically damaging than weed. And honestly, the goverment would probably prosper a little more if they legalized it.

My sister in law just gave

My sister in law just gave birth to a beutiful girl and she is very healty. We she did not know she was preganant until she went into labor(she had her period the entire time and has had a negative test 2 times in the last 6 months. Her daughter has tested postive for meth and the mother tested negative. She had a sinus infection the last couple of weeks and she was taking Claritan D. Well the state took her baby and her other 2 daughters away. I would like to know if there is some way we can help her fight this. Thanks for any advice.

Now i'm terrified!

I didn't know i was pregnant til i was half way into my 6th month ( still got my period and had only gained about 5 pounds ). I am 28 yrs old, and suffer from insomnia. I didn't like the way sleep aids made me feel and the side effects are insane. I choose to self medicate by taking a few hits of weed before bed, and I have found this to be very effective. My employer does not offer health benefits so i was uninsured when i found out i was pregnant, because pregnancy is viewed as a pre-exisiting condition i was unable to obtain private health insurance and was forced to go on medicaid just to be seen by a doctor ( I won't even begin to get into that issue ). The problem is that because of my marijuana use i now fear that my baby will be taken away from me. I live in South Eastern Pennsylvania and can't find any information on forced drug testing on mother or baby or the legal ramifications of testing positive. Both of us will pass a pee test since i am no longer using, but if they test the baby's first bowel movement it will show positive. I have learned that if you ask your doc they will automatically test because of reasonable suspicion so i don't know what to do. Someone with some knowledge on the subject please HELP!!!!!!!!!

WTF.... seriously how can they do this

My sister -in- law is a crack whore.... she doesn't have nor see or speak to her two beautiful children she already has.... and is pregnant with another! I have racked my brains trying to figure out what to do...so she doesn't cause anymore damage.. ( my husband and I would like to adopt the baby..) Nobody in this backwoods state will help... till the baby is born... So how does this make sense, she is actively using METH.. smoking pot and allegidly shooting meth or whatever she can get her hands on! I have called everyone I can think of and nobody seems to help! I feel like I am going crazy! How can she do more damage and its okay until the birth...? So another question.. you are not allowed to have an abortion past a certain time because the fetus then is considered a "life", but you can do whatever drugs you want while pregnant because a fetus is not "a life" WTF! If anyone can offer any advice please let me know I am at a brick wall, she has about two months left... trying to keep it from being too messed up! HELP!

Voice for unborn babies born addicted to drugs

I have just experienced a family member's newborn baby being taken from her under "Garrett's Law."

When she was 12 weeks pregnant she had some bleeding went to the local ER and tested positive for meth.

This was documented and a social worker from the hospital was assigned to the case.  She continued to use drugs and to test positive when going to the clinic for her pre-natal check-ups.   Her chart was RED flagged and she was listed as HIGH RISK!  No help was offered, she went to the hospital in labor and tested positive for Methadone, and the baby was born addicted to methadone.

The social worker from February shows up and states I remember you, but stated she couldn't find a rehab

that would take an addicted pregnant woman.  So the baby was taken and placed in Foster Care, the mother walked free and was using again within 24 hours while this innocent child went through withdrawl.  What's wrong with the system, this women endangered the welfare of a child and no telling what long term problems he will have from the drug use.  Taking the child after the fact is not fixing anything--just creating more children born with behavioral problems, learning disabilities, etc.  Being place in Foster Homes for the state to support for the rest of their lives.

Smoke your dope, pop your pills while you have a baby growing inside you, but don't leave your dog in the

car at WalMart or you will go to JAIL....Wake up, this is a serious problem!  What can we do?

 

 

 

marijuana and pregnancy

I have been an "in the closet" marijuana smoker for 10 years now. I had my first daughter in 2008. I smoked throughout the entire pregnancy. I have been clinically diagnosed with ADHD and Insomnia since age 12. It is horrible that I cannot afford my prescription medication but I can buy a sack of weed. I'm not saying that it's ok to smoke while pregnant but at the same time I need to sleep and concentrate throughout the day. My daughter is fixing to be 4 in March and she is the most intelligent child that I personally have ever met. I have numerous friends that have smoked pot through their pregnancies too. Yet I have yet to see one of their kids or mine have any kind of health issues or mental problems or anything of the sort. I'm not going to argue with women that don't smoke and never have cuz it would be pointless. But I will say this much, in this situation, at least as far as marijuana, I say to each their own.

IGNORANCE IN THE JUDICIAL RANKS

I HAVE TWO CHILDREN AND THERE WAS A TIME IN MY LIFE THAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE WAS AN ISSUE, THAT TIME WAS 9 YEARS AGO AND THERE IS STILL AN COURT ORDER THAT ALLOWS MY EX OR ME TO REQUEST A TEST AT ANY TIME AND I HAVE 24 HOURS TO COMPLY (HAIR TESTS)MY EX IS A   CONVICTED FELON AND SHE HAS MANAGED TO MAINTAIN CUSTODY AND DICTATE VISITATION DESPITE HER FELONY CRIMINAL RECORD AND A HISTORY OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE WHILE HAVING FULL CUSTODY OF BOTH CHILDREN. I HAVE NEVER PUT MY CHILDREN IN DANGER AND I NEVER WOULD, MY CHILDREN ARE 10 AND 6 AND ARKANSAS LAW  CLEARLY STATES THAT "BEST INTERESTS" IS PARAMOUNT TO ANY VISITATION OR CUSTODY ORDERS. THAT IS THE MOST ABUSED DISCRETION OF POWER THAT OUR JUDGES IN ARKANSAS HAVE AND THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO REQUIRE A JUDGE TO HAVE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS IN THE "BEST INTERESTS"( MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS) TO EVALUATE EACH DECISION SO SOME ARROGANT JUDGE WHO COULDN'T MAKE IT AS AN ATTORNEY IS KEPT IN CHECK AND HIS ORDERS ARE BASED ON A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO ENSURE THAT THE CHILDREN'S

BEST INTERESTS ARE  BEING SERVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Garretts law saved my life

I am a twenty one year old mom to a six month old baby girl!! And I am actually six months clean as well.. my clean date is my daughters birthday, the day she was born!! And yes I used during my pregnancy, my drug of choice was meth, but I took pills here n there n smoke weed as well throughout my nine months! And by the grace of God my daughter was born healthy and normal, but when she got taken from me four days after she was born, my world came crashing down. The last day I got high or used any mind altering substance was the day before she was born ( which is what put me in labor two weeks early) my life has changed completely, my daughter comes up n spends every weekend with me but in about twenty days she will be home for good, but if it wasn't for the Garretts law and DHS I would of never stopped using drugs. I wanted so badly to stop getting high before my baby was born but the drugs had control over my life!! I am so thankful for someone getting this law going because I'm not only a mom that lost her baby n has rose up n beat the odds of staying clean n getting her daughter back but I'm the baby that got taken from her mom as well due to drug abuse and I am thankful DHS took me from mine so I could be raised right with morals! Anyways I could go on n on about how great this law is I'm living proof that it does save a mom n daughters life!

Such type of irresponsible

Such type of irresponsible activities are not suitable for mother or parents. Babies are totally depends on their parents as they can't able to take their own care. A mother is the first teacher of a baby. If a mother involve in drugs related crimes, it put negative effects on baby. So a mother have to stop these. The mother also penalized by our constitution. It is a message for all mothers that keep them self away from such type of criminal activities and give a deep concentration towards her baby's growth and future. A mother should take proper care of her baby.Baby steals

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