Alabama is a state that takes its drug policy very seriously. That’s apparent in one county in particular that has an extremely harsh policy on pregnant women.
In Etowah County, any pregnant or postpartum woman who is charged with endangering their fetus from drug-use is forced to complete a drug treatment program before their release.
The policy’s inclusion of marijuana isn’t without some backing. Studies have shown the potential of health problems in children who have been exposed to marijuana in the womb.
However, the way the policy is enacted is much too overbearing in the county. For example, one pregnant woman was kept in jail because she was ordered to complete a drug treatment program for admitting “that she had smoked marijuana on the day she learned she was pregnant — two days earlier”. That step then wasn’t possible for her because a substance abuse agency told her twice that she didn’t qualify for treatment because she wasn’t addicted to drugs.
So she remained stuck between two directions for three months, until a judge finally changed the language of her release.
It seems this comes down to politicians who see any drug-use whatsoever as abuse, and their beliefs not aligning with reality. So, a policy that is worded by them ruins the lives of women left to deal with it in the real world.
It’s a damaging policy that adds confusion to the judicial system because of its too-large scope, and hopefully the national attention its now receiving will help add nuance to the legislation.
Read the original story at the Washington Post.