West Virginia Court: Drugs in Newborn’s System Shows Abuse

CHARLESTON– West Virginia’s highest court has ruled that evidence of illicit drugs in a newborn’s umbilical cord is sufficient to bring a child abuse proceeding against the mother and the father who knew about her drug use.

West Virginia’s highest court has ruled that evidence of illicit drugs in a newborn’s umbilical cord is sufficient to bring a child abuse proceeding against the mother and the father who knew about her drug use.

The Supreme Court says state law clearly seeks to protect a threatened or harmed child from the person inflicting the injury or one failing to meet the child’s needs. The case concerns a baby born prematurely in February 2016. The umbilical cord tested positive for cocaine, opiates, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. A twin was born dead. Justice Robin Jean Davis cites “undisputed” evidence of the mother’s drug use.

The case returns to an Ohio County court, where the father testified he discouraged her drug use and the mother admitted lying to him about it.

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