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Tennessee mom arrested for abusing drugs during pregnancy

 A double bar of a quick test kit shows a positive result for methamphetamine usage
A double bar of a quick test kit shows a positive result for methamphetamine usage
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

It’s the first case of its kind. A 26-year old mother from Tennessee has been arrested and charged of simple assault after she and her baby girl tested positive for methamphetamine.

Mallory Loyola is being accused of violating state law that penalizes drug use of pregnant women.

MSNBC said the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that report, adding that the woman gave birth on July 6.

"It's sad to see a child not getting an opportunity to come drug-free and given a chance. We want to see our children have a chance in life," Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens told said a $2,000 bond was set for Loyola.

Tennessee is said to be the first state to allow charges to be filed against new mothers believed to have used illegal drugs while they were pregnant. The controversial bill was signed last April by Republican Governor Bill Haslam in a bid to curb the number of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a withdrawal syndrome among infants exposed to drugs.

The bill, which took effect on July 1, states that “nothing shall preclude prosecution of a woman for an assaultive offense for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”

But groups have questioned the bill and its harsh penalties.

”Threatening punitive sanctions will not solve the problem. In fact, policies that threaten women with criminal prosecution and the loss of their children drive women away from health care and discourage them from seeking both prenatal and pregnancy care," Hedy Weinberg, American Civil Liberties Union Tennessee branch executive director, told CBC.

Meanwhile, Tara Culp-Ressler pointed out in an editorial that while “Addiction is considered to be a medical issue, and under the Constitution’s definition of cruel and unusual punishment, states aren’t allowed to criminalize those types of disorders…Tennessee is making an exception for pregnant people.”

Drug addiction is extremely hard to deal with and the increasing number of people abusing drugs is disturbing to say the least.

But addiction and cravings for such harmful substances can be addressed through counseling and medication such as naltrexone.

Although originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating alcohol and opioid or painkiller dependence, recent studies showed its promising effects against methamphetamine use.

Naltrexone comes in pill and injection form and has lately been utilized in implant form by BioCorRx Inc.’s (BICX, Start Fresh Program.

BioCorRx’s dual-approach program requires patients to undergo an outpatient procedure to insert the pellet-form naltrexone under the skin, near the lower abdomen. The curbing of cravings for alcohol or opioids is usually immediately experienced within hours according to most patients.

Although pregnant women should first consult their doctor if they can undergo the procedure, individuals who want to address their drug dependence have been encouraged to consider enrolling in the program, which also involves life coaching sessions, to prepare one for a life free of substance abuse.

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