State Policies Sometimes Dissuade Doctors From Reporting Drug-Endangered Babies
Reuters reports that some state laws, which were designed to protect drug-dependent babies, put the mother in legal trouble, leading some doctors to avoid certain referrals. In a separate story, Reuters reports on patterns in which these at-risk babies, once released from the hospital, have a greater risk of mortality.
State Policies Deter Doctors From Reporting Drug-Endangered Babies
When Congress adopted the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act in 2003, the intent – spelled out in the law – was to ensure protection for drug-dependent newborns, not to punish mothers battling addiction. But today, a referral to child protection services in some states can put a mother in legal peril – a reality that dissuades some doctors from reporting cases of newborns in drug withdrawal no matter what the federal provisions intended. (Wilson and Shiffman, 12/8)
Newborns Die After Being Sent Home With Drug-Dependent Mothers
Brayden Cummings turned 6 weeks old the morning his mother suffocated him. High on methamphetamine, Xanax and the methadone prescribed to help her kick a heroin habit, 20-year-old Tory Schlier told police that she was “fuzzy” about what happened to her baby boy. A 12-year-old federal law calls on states to take steps to safeguard babies like Brayden after they leave the hospital. That effort is failing across the nation, a Reuters investigation has found, endangering a generation of children born into America’s growing addiction to heroin and opioids. (Wilson and Shiffman, 12/8)