Drug babies | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 29, 2006

Drug babies

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2006 at 5:22 AM

Many months ago, we had some spirited talk here prompted by my criticism of drug warrior legislators thumping their chests about passing laws to snatch children away from mothers suspected of being drug users. I was all wrong to say the law was strictly punitive, defenders said. Lawmakers were worried about helping these mothers, too, not just adding a notch to their campaign resumes.

So. Interesting testimony yesterday from medical professionals about Garrett's Law.

Cindy Crone, the executive director of Arkansas Cares, a treatment program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for pregnant women addicted to drugs, said 273 referrals made under the new law have been substantiated, with 93 newborns and 33 of their siblings removed from their homes.

Few of the mothers received any help after the removals, Crone said.

"The unfortunate part of that is, less than 20 percent of those mothers received any substance abuse treatment," Crone said. "Less than 20 percent of those mothers received any parenting education or support, which a drug-positive birth would indicate a need potentially for both."

There are no numbers on the women who failed to seek pre-natal care for fear of losing children or being arrested on account of a positive drug test.

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