MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Mom of Newborn Reported to State for Eating a Poppy Seed Bagel – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Posted by M. C. Fox on August 12, 2018

(Drug) War is a racket and no one is safe.

https://reason.com/blog/2018/08/08/mother-poppy-seeds-drug-use-test

When a mother in labor seemed to test positive for opiates, that alone was enough to get her reported for drug use. To make matters worse, she claimed that she hadn’t actually been using drugs.

Baltimore County mother Elizabeth Eden was in labor at St. Joseph Medical Center when a doctor informed her that she tested positive for opiates, WBAL-TV reports. Earlier that day, Eden had consumed a poppy seed bagel. She remembered hearing in a health class that the poppy seeds could lead to a false positive in a drug test.

“I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? And I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast,’ and she said, ‘No, you’ve been reported to the state,'” Eden recalled. After giving birth, Eden’s daughter, Beatrice, was forced to remain in the hospital for five days. Eden was also assigned a caseworker, who conducted a home check. When the caseworker concluded that the poppy seed defense was legitimate, the case was closed. Still, Eden called the ordeal “traumatizing.”…

In Eden’s case, Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, chief of the OB/GYN department at St. Joseph Medical Center, told WBAL-TV that the test’s threshold was lowered in an attempt to catch more people. Setting the bar higher to only identify “true positives” could cause the hospital to miss several drug users, she argued.

Reason‘s Jacob Sullum has argued that the rush to separate mothers from their children following a positive drug test is misguided:

The problem with Lawrence County’s policy is not just that urinalysis is not always reliable. It is also that drug use during pregnancy does not ipso facto prove that a newborn is in danger of neglect or abuse, or that he would be better off in foster care. “By law,” [Charles Davis of Change.org] notes, “the state is only permitted to take a child from its parents if there’s clear evidence of abuse or imminent danger—and only as a last resort.” The government does not (and should not) automatically seize the children of women who drink alcohol or smoke tobacco during pregnancy, and there is no rational reason to treat illegal drugs differently….

Bonus links: Here’s a story of a woman who was nearly placed behind bars because of a false drug test. Here is yet another story of a mother getting separated from her baby after failing a dubious drug test.

Be seeing you

drug war

 

 

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