Drug Testing Pregnant Women Produces False Positives (And Kills Babies)

A major and underappreciated problem with drug testing is that the stupid tests don’t even work. They say people took drugs when they didn’t. The problem is particularly apparent in the case of pregnant women who are frequently targeted for drug screening, but whose changing body chemistry throws off the results:

Hospitals' initial urine- screening drug tests on pregnant women can produce a high rate of false positives - particularly for methamphetamine and opiates - because they are technically complex and interpretation of the results can be difficult, some experts say.

Tests for methamphetamine are wrong an average of 26 percent - and possibly up to 70 percent - of the time, according to studies by the University of Kansas Medical Center, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. [DailyNews]

Of course, drug policy and science cannot coexist harmoniously, thus babies are taken from mothers who test positive, even though the tests are constantly wrong. In one tragic case, a child died in foster care after being wrongly separated from her mother:

Growing up in Los Angeles County's foster care system, Elizabeth Espinoza is sure of one thing: A baby needs its mother.

Espinoza, who was separated from her own mother when she was young because of neglect, also had her newborn baby taken by the foster-care system when she tested positive for marijuana and cocaine at the hospital after giving birth.

Just three months later, the baby, Gerardo, died when his foster mother strapped him into a car seat, took him to a neighbor's home and left him in the car seat on a bed, according to a lawsuit filed against the county's Department of Children and Family Services seeking unspecified damages. [DailyNews]

I hope I'm not being generous, but I really think almost anyone would agree that this is just sickening and horrible. The press coverage will hopefully initiate progress towards cleaning up the procedures that contributed to this travesty. I will hold out hope that common sense can prevail over the mindlessness of taking children from their parents based on evidence that is proven to be wrong up to 70% of the time, particularly now that the alternatives we have available for those children have been demonstrated to be fatally inadequate.

But there is also a larger lesson here that must not escape our attention. Think for a moment about how many women have already been falsely accused under this wildly unjust policy. Think about the social consequences of tearing families apart based on deeply flawed science in a criminal justice system that strikes without hesitation but drags its heels when it comes to righting such ubiquitous wrongs. Ask yourself, also, how such a policy was ever implemented in the first place, doomed as it was to destroy innocent families so capriciously.

Once again, we are faced with a monumental travesty, grand in scope, yet remarkably simple in origin; we should protect unborn children from drug-using mothers. We've wreaked unimaginable and undue suffering upon innocent parents and children in pursuit of the noblest of ideals. That, unfortunately, is the story of most aspects of our drug policy when they receive appropriate scrutiny. The totality of such repeated travesties forms a terrifying mosaic, the true, yet largely untold story of how our drug policies destroy innocent lives each and every day in ways we might never expect.

It is precisely because the idea to protect babies from drugs is such a no-brainer that a plan was drafted with no brains.
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i agree with most of what you

i agree with most of what you say except that "babies dont get taken if your not doing drugs" I had a positive amphetamine test and upon research found it was from the zantac 150 i was taking with my doctors consent. He did not have the knowledge that it could produce a positive result and neither did the nurse who conducted the test and after i told dcfs/cps about what i found and upon them asking him he told them it was impossible. my babys screens were all negative but dcfs/cps decided to put my kids in a "safety plan" anyway placing them with relatives we can not spend the night with them or have any unsupervised contact. I'm not against the "enemy" as you call yourself but do wish people in your field who conduct these tests had a more vast knowledge of the possibilities and the regulations and guidelines of the the devices used to conduct these tests it would have saved me an immense amount of hurt and suffering in my matter especially since they had noted the medication all over the counter and doctor approved that i as taking upon arriving at the hospital. Please look into Section III Letter C Number 3 of this article from the link i'm about to post to prevent future patients of yours the pain i went through. Interference although not common and not consistent can happen with many otc and prescription drugs. I must mention when i was told my results immediately after the test was taken i was denied my request for a retest because they said it would already be out of my system (within an hour?) sounds like in my case they were trying to cover their butts because right away they reported it to dcfs as drug use.


I have a friend who is 22

I have a friend who is 22 weeks pregnant and has recently used meth. Will it show up when she goes in to habe the baby?

I would think it would come

I would think it would come up.. How did it go?

i guess i must be just another pot head.

Hi all... I am writing because for 1 obviously I am indeed a pothead... happy to be one too. However.. me and my husband of 12 years have decided we would love to have another baby. I'm 30, he is 32 and we would like to have some time with just me and him not to sound too selfish so ,ya know, we need to get hoppin so we have that whole closeness and just being a man and a woman when they leave the nest... Now... calm the hell down lol... I am not at this time pregnant but hope to be soon. I can't help it if you don't like me, my lifestyle, my choices or the name I chose just to throw it in there in advance for any stupidity that may follow this post... I believe that Mary can't hurt me..... or my children. I have never exposed them to one itty bit of  that part of my "personality" shall we say. Quit as soon as my first was a gleam in his eye and didn't start again until about 6-7 years after both my kids were born.  I have always and will continue to be their mother to the fullest of my capabilities for as long as I draw air into my lungs. I could not hurt them for any reason. I also have to say this. I quit smoking cigarettes almost 3 years ago because I wanted to live longer and I believe (sorry smokers I still love y'all!) that everyone has the right to choose what they draw into their lungs. I also have already stopped drinking (which by the way before you haters get your hopes up... teehee... would probably only average around maybe 1 mixed drink a month... maybe more if my husband were to take me out... err ya know.. wanted to stay in ;o)...calm down lol.. my limit is 2.. yeah I'm a weakling with alcohol... oh well, I know my limit and don't go over it. Learned my lesson. I have however always quit drinking / mary j well before I became pregnant. Also with smoking tobacco which was a lot harder ,let me tell you, to quit and I will admit to breakdowns where i did smoke a cigarette from time to time during my pregnancies but then again I never said i was perfect. I have my own sins like every other poster here. I also have to say that I have never done any dangerous drug that was not an Rx. as in tylenol 3 which i was prescribed with my first and second pregnancies. I asked the Lord for a healthy child and He gave me 2. I have never done anything except pot / smoking tobacco/ caffeine/ drinking and ty 3..... and not because i wasn't given the opportunity believe me! I was even forced at one point to "try" coke... they never saw the cloud come at them when I blew all their shit in the air... got hit but i didn't do it....so...how can you hate me or other responsible ( yeah I said it...) pot smokers... aka in a safe environment with no children anywhere on the property where i can de-stress and just relax... Also I get what the woman was saying about it being a medical need and I have to say our situations are diff and I hold no judgement but if this is causing so much anxiety in you it is harmful to you. not the pot but the worry. my 2 cents for what it's worth? ...even if it is a little late... Please find some other methods to help stay calm.. healthy alternatives.. I am not telling you to quit or slow down or anything else so please do not misunderstand why I am saying this. It is your choice and your right. I just have issues with anxiety/panic etc. and Even if you don't quit having the knowledge will hopefully help you.. just knowing its in your arsenal for when you need it. It helps me.. maybe it will you too. I will pray for you and yours. To some of the others I am sorry you have been put through this no matter the situation. I hope all of you find some peace. I do have my own opinions about harsher drugs. I truly think the government should not impose on us like this. If it were mine to decide women who were forced or chose to do whatever drugs be given the opportunity when they find they are pregnant that they should maybe be able to go into voluntary counseling etc to help wean them off in a safe and stable environment where they won't be judged or punished but given knowledge to help them prepare for this new blessing in their lives and then praised for having the courage to better themselves and their child's life while it is in their body's care. I believe in asking for help and really hate when I am forced to wade through bs to learn or be able to make a choice because I am being judged. It just makes life that much more difficult. I do hope to have a blessing soon and will cherish this child or children for as long as God allows. I am currently smoking but as soon as I get a confirmed preggers test i will be quitting. My only worry is that I will turn out to be one of those women that didn't know they were pregnant and go into labor. or get a false neg preg test and truly be pregnant. i don't even know if thats possible as a side effect..unfortunately that makes me worry about even going to my gyno to make sure for my own peace of mind. Explains why I found this. Maybe if it weren't so scary I would be able to face her and ask. Oh well. I hope and pray for the best. Thanks for reading this and I am sorry if it was too long... but then again.. I did say I was a pothead!!!

do they do this in scotland?

do they do this in scotland? Xx

Posts like this make me fear the day I decide to have a baby...

I'm still in college, single, no plans for a baby yet! Someday, but not today. I have several chronic illnesses for which I take a variety of prescription medications. Some of these are listed as causing false positives- they are GERD medications!! Pantoprazole, ranitidine, promethazine... It's absolutely ridiculous. The government should be HELPING me, not making me fear for my future children because I'm a sick person! I can't believe it is so difficult to argue a false positive.

My friend is22 weeks pregnant

My friend is22 weeks pregnant and has recently used meth. Will it show up in her baby?

How did her delivery go?

How did her delivery go?


Question: In MASSACHUSETTS, my son was taken because HE had opiates in his system. I did not because I didn't do any drugs.what are the possible reasons for a newborn to test positive, but not the mother???

could ANYBODY help me

could ANYBODY help me understand? why nobody is responding?

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