Etowah Co. cracks down on mothers of addicted babies - KPTV - FOX 12

Etowah Co. cracks down on mothers of addicted babies

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ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Addicted mothers giving birth to addicted babies is an ongoing problem in Alabama.

Authorities in one county say they're going to crack down on mothers whose newborn babies test positive for drugs.

Etowah County officials believe they have a serious problem here with young mothers whose newborn babies are addicted to drugs, and the sheriff said they will have a zero tolerance policy, and the first step in solving the problem will be sending the mother to jail.

At a news conference Monday morning, Etowah County officials said they would be prosecuting women whose children test positive at birth for drugs.

Sheriff Todd Entrekin said approximately 50 babies in Etowah County are born each year that test positive for drugs. So county officials said they met with area hospitals and other healthcare providers in the last two weeks to assess the situation.

Entrekin warns women whose babies test positive will now be jailed and charged.

Two women in Etowah County this month have already been charged, and the sheriff said it may not be just the women who face charges when it comes to protecting the children.

"We're going to look all the way back.  If there's someone at the hospital that's addicted to methadone and they're getting it legally, I'm not saying that my office is not going to look at that.  We're going to follow it back to the root of the problem is," he said.

District Attorney Jimmie Harp said that they do have a drug court program available for these women but said it will be done on a case by case basis. 

Marshall County has been prosecuting such cases since the law went into effect in June 2006.

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