Mom booked, baby born with marijuana in system – NewsFlash – NOLA.com
MONROE, La. (AP) — A newborn was hospitalized after doctors discovered marijuana in his system shortly after his birth and Ouachita Parish sheriff’s investigators arrested the mother.Renita D. Simmons, 18, of West Monroe was booked Wednesday on charges of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.
Investigators said a caseworker with Glenwood Regional Medical Center called the Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 4 to report a newborn with marijuana in his system.
The caseworker told deputies Simmons gave birth on Feb. 3 and a urine analysis was conducted on the child, according to an incident report.
On Wednesday, the teenage mother admitted to investigators that she used marijuana several times during her pregnancy and used the drug approximately two or three weeks before giving birth, the report stated.
Simmons also admitted to deputies that she knew the drugs could harm her unborn child.
Detectives said that the infant was premature and remained hospitalized as of Thursday.
First of all, does anyone want to take the bet that Renita Simmons is African-American? Studies quoted in the New England Journal of Medicine show that regardless of similar or equal levels of illicit drug use during pregnancy, black women are 10 times more likely than white women to be reported to child welfare agencies for prenatal drug use.
Secondly, use of cannabis by pregnant women has proven to be very effective in relieving the symptoms of morning sickness.
Finally, no one can show that there truly is any significant harm to the fetus or the child resulting from a mother’s use of marijuana.
Studies of newborns, infants, and children show no consistent physical, developmental, or cognitive deficits related to prenatal marijuana exposure. Marijuana had no reliable impact on birth size, length of gestation, neurological development, or the occurrence of physical abnormalities. The administration of hundreds of tests to older children has revealed only minor differences between offspring of marijuana users and nonusers, and some are positive rather than negative.
No one at NORML recommends the use of cannabis by pregnant women; in fact, we don’t recommend cannabis use by anyone. We just believe that punishing people for their use of cannabis is counterproductive, unjust, and cruel. In this case, we have a young mother who didn’t harm her child who is now saddled with a child-abuse arrest record. We have an infant who may be separated from his mother if she’s incarcerated. We have the state intruding on this young family with case workers and monitoring and paperwork. Since marijuana is illegal and remains in the system for so long, it’s very easy to bust Renita Simmons for smoking a joint 2-3 weeks before delivery, and now she and her baby face all these consequences for an act that didn’t harm the baby and probably helped Renita.
Renita’s mistake was in getting stoned instead of drunk. As of Jan 1, 2007, 32 states, including Louisiana, had no provisions for child abuse or neglect regarding alcohol use during pregnancy, despite the scientific consensus that such use leads to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:
Scientific research has established that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with adverse health consequences. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the term used to describe the range of birth defects caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. FASD are considered the most common nonhereditary cause of mental retardation. Included in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is the diagnosis often referred to as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which is the most severe form of FASD. It is characterized by facial defects, growth deficiencies, and central nervous system dysfunction. Also included in FASD are other types of alcohol-induced mental impairments that are just as serious, if not more so, than in children with FAS. The term “alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder” (ARND) has been developed to describe such impairments. Prenatally exposed children can also have other alcohol-related physical abnormalities of the skeleton and certain organ systems; these are known as alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, June 2000; Warren and Foudin, 2001; SAMHSA, 2004).