State to Criminalize Moms Using Drugs while Pregnant

Gov. Bill Haslam today signed legislation allowing women who use drugs while pregnant to be criminally charged for harm done to their infants, the Tennessean reports. “The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs,” Haslam wrote in a statement. Tennessee officials have wrestled with what to do about the growing numbers of infants born dependent on drugs. The law brings back criminalization, which lawmakers had eliminated two years ago as the state moved toward programs that incentivize expecting mothers to get into treatment.