Laws Punishing Pregnant Drug Users Hurt Unborn Babies

Opioid use disorder in pregnant women is on the rise. In fact, the number of women in the U.S. with an opioid addiction at the time of delivery quadrupled between 1999 and 2013. And there is no sign of it slowing down.

In order to combat the growing opioid epidemic, between 2000 and 2015, 13 states enacted laws that punish pregnant drug users. The total number of states with laws like these has now reached 25 — half of the country.

These laws intend to protect unborn babies from addiction, meant to scare their mothers away from using drugs. But, research shows the direct opposite is actually happening.

How Laws Punishing Pregnant Drug Users Are Backfiring

According to a research study of nearly 4.6 million births across eight different states, “policies that criminalized substance use during pregnancy… were associated with significantly greater rates of NAS…”

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, is a severe type of drug withdrawal that a newborn suffers when exposed to opioids in the womb. It’s agonizing for the child and can require weeks or months of hospitalization, and requires management by pediatric specialists.

Laws that punish or criminalize a mother-to-be’s drug use during pregnancy (or threaten to remove newborns from their mother’s care after birth) discourage women from seeking addiction treatment. This puts newborn babies at a higher risk of health and developmental problems from the moment they enter this world.

This is why I am a lawyer fighting against laws punishing pregnant drug users. And it’s why I am offering a free legal consultation to any mother whose child was born with NAS.


Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC Can Help

Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC is not interested in judging you. We simply want to help you and your child. It is important to us to protect the families of Tennessee.

If you are a pregnant mother with an opioid use disorder, or have recently given birth and your child is suffering from NAS, contact us online or call us at 901-327-1212 right away. We are a team of lawyers Tennessee has trusted for over thirty years. And we have a plan to get you the financial compensation you deserve.

The consultation is absolutely free, and we make nothing unless we win your case.  Call us today for judgment-free help. It would be our honor to speak with you.