Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE: Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.
An impassioned and unresolved controversy over whether to continue criminal prosecution of women who give birth to drug-addicted babies has birthed a bipartisan and unanimous committee crusade to spend more state money on treatment for addiction. Highlights from the article:
- All members of the state House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, where the opposing sides argued emotionally and at length about the “fetal assault bill” last week, signed on afterward to a proposed state budget amendment that would provide $10 million in new funding “for the sole purpose of drug addiction treatment services for pregnant women and newborn babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.”
- The bill, HB1660, appeared on the verge of defeat after a Sevier County judge who presides over a drug court joined others in telling legislators that a two-year experiment in authorizing prosecution of addicted mothers has been a failure.
- Patrick said the law discourages mothers “from being forthcoming” and seeking help they need. He also said the law ignores alcohol abuse by expectant mothers, a far more common problem — although drug addiction is growing, mostly because of illegal use of opioid prescription drugs.
Read the entire article online at KnoxBlogs.com
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