Drug testing in newborns. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-05-2011, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in my 38th week of pregnancy. And please I ask don't judge me. And I am new to the area of PA.


I am on regular medications for thyroid, bi-polar and migraines. (have been prescribed percocets (just recently was given morphine and such by the hospital) and fiorcet). I also take klonopin.


My biggest worry is that I have smoked pot during this pregnancy. I'm not sure on the laws, what my fiancee and I have researched on the law is very vague and not precise.


I have stopped smoking. I do not do hard drugs i.e cocaine or crack.


I have never given my doctors reason to drug test me.


My biggest fear is testing positive and the baby testing positive for THC. Do they automatically test all newborns once they are born regardless of suspicion of drug abuse?


I don't abuse drugs. I just smoke pot, not on a daily basis mind you.


Is CPS called? Is your baby taken away?


Do I have any rights whatsoever?


If anyone has knowledge of where I can find legitimate and precise information or just advice..please?


I'd appreciate it.



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#2 of 5 Old 07-05-2011, 12:02 PM
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I understand your concern.  My guess is that laws would vary by state.  This must be very difficult for you...I was terrified of so many things when I was pregnant.  Hopefully, someone can write in and give you some information that will ease your mind. 


I assume the hospital knew you were pregnant (at 38 weeks, I don't imagine they could miss it!) when they prescribed the Percocets, morphine and the "and such" that you mentioned?


Hang in there.

 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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#3 of 5 Old 07-06-2011, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes they did.


I called my doctor last Wednesday b/c the previous Sunday I knocked my head on something, had a headache then. I wasn't given anything but was sent to the hospital to labor and delivery. So they sent me back. It was horrible. They tried Firocets (spelling). Didn't work. So they gave me morphine. Didn't work. I have a history of migraines but they have gotten a lot worse since being pregnant. And this is my first pregnancy.


My ob doctor has prescribed me percs three times. I've also had complications such as some high blood pressure readings, swelling (still have it) and my headaches that seem to get worse. And protein in my urine.


So it's been very difficult for me. I was taken off of all my bi-polar meds by a regular MD and I wasn't in a good place in the beginning of the pregnancy, I switched doctors and he was the one that prescribed klonopin it helps but doesn't.


I've always denied marijuana use when they've asked. I don't drink alcohol. Even when I wasn't pregnant, I rarely drink if it all.


I'm not in an abused home, or on welfare. And it seems like what laws that are some what clear seem to test those mothers who exhibit signs of dependency to drugs and what not.


I'm rambling, it's been a long night.

I'm sorry..

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#4 of 5 Old 07-06-2011, 07:10 AM
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I have legal experience in NJ with a mother's newborn testing positive for THC and CPS was called. While the baby was not taken away, the mother was required to cooperate with CPS until her case was closed. There was a dispute as to whether the child had actually tested positive, but regardless, she had to deal with CPS caseworker in her home 7 days a week, 4 hours per day for a few months to make sure she was complying with remedial measures.


I am not familiar with PA laws in regards to testing newborns or what their procedures are. Hospitals are usually mandatory reporters for abuse and neglect, so it depends whether unprescribed or illegal drug use during pregnancy is considered neglect under PA laws.


From just a brief bit of research, it seems PA does drug test, as there was an ACLU case in Oct. 2010 regarding a newborn being removed b/c mom tested positive for opiates by virtue of eating a poppy seed bagel just prior to delivery. http://www.aclupa.org/pressroom/aclupafileslawsuitonbehalf.htm From this article it also seems that each hospital sets it's own guidelines, with the federal guidelines as a floor and the hospital's can make their policies more stringent if they wish.


I would reach out to a local family law attorney who specializes in cases of child protective services to get some legal advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, consider looking into your local legal services office for at least some free advice. The more information you have in advance of delivery, the better place you'll be in to understand your rights in the event you need to assert them.


Good luck!


Note: This is not intended as legal advice and should not be considered legal advice.

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#5 of 5 Old 01-08-2012, 10:37 AM
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Check it out. Based on my research its based on hospital policy, but the State of PA itself does not have any mandatory reporting protocols. The ACLU case was bogus because the hospital tested its mothers/babies at levels lower than those recommended, they were seeking positive results.

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