AL.com, an Alabama based online news publication, recently released a story about new moms who seem to be at risk for losing their newborn babies in the state of Alabama, all because their pre-birth drug screen came back as false positives. The paper introduced several moms who were all accused of exposing their babies to drugs in utero. And because of Alabama’s laws, which require that healthcare workers report all substance exposed infants to CPS, many new moms are at risk of losing their babies to false positive drug test results.
Nurses say it “happens all the time”
In one mom’s story, her pre-birth drug screen came back positive for Subutex, a medication taken to treat opioid addiction. The nurses and doctors in the hospital pressed Christen repeatedly to admit that she was struggling with opioid addiction, while she explained again and again that she’d never heard of Subutex, had never taken it, and wasn’t addicted to any drugs. But the hospital staff wouldn’t let up. And it was only when the second drug screen, taken days later after the birth, came back negative for both her and her baby, that they agreed it must have been a false positive. In talking to a nurse, Christen was told it “happens all the time.”
Everyday foods can trigger false positives
Poppy seeds are well known to trip up drug tests, resulting in false positives for opiates like heroin. So for new mom Rebecca, when her drug screen came back positive because of poppy seed bread she had eaten a few days before delivery, her baby was taken from her by CPS. Another young mom named Ashley had a similar experience when her over-the-counter heartburn medication tripped the test and came back positive for methamphetamines. She almost lost her baby and if it hadn’t been for her doctor fighting on her behalf, CPS would have stepped in and taken her newborn away.
Alabama has a record for prosecuting new moms
Using drugs while pregnant is illegal in the state of Alabama. Which means that any new moms who come into the hospital to give birth, and who are screened for drugs, are facing the possibility of prosecution if the result is positive. And given the fact that false positives are more common than you’d think, that’s a lot of innocent mothers at risk for losing their babies to CPS and being charged for criminal endangerment. In fact, Alabama leads the nation in prosecution of mothers for supposed drug abuse, bringing felony drug charges against more mothers than any other state in the U.S.
What does Michigan law have to say on this subject?
Join us next time for a look at what Michigan law has to say on the issue of drug use during pregnancy, and what grounds CPS can use for taking your newborn baby away. Until then, if CPS reaches out to you in any way here in Michigan, or a healthcare worker at the hospital tells you that they’re required to “involve a social worker” call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our aggressive, pro-parent CPS defense attorneys can help you fight for your rights and protect your family.