Florida Drug Use and Pregnancy Laws

Drug Use During Pregnancy Laws in Florida

Around 5% of women have admitted to abusing substances like cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, or prescription substances during pregnancy which can lead to a host of issues. It’s difficult to know the exact effects of substance abuse during pregnancy, which is why it’s so important to seek treatment to help solve your substance abuse issues. This is how Florida law handles drug abuse during pregnancy. Here is more information in how Florida laws on drug use during pregnancy.

Is substance abuse a crime during pregnancy?

No. Laws regarding substance abuse during pregnancy vary by state. In Florida, substance abuse during pregnancy is not a specific crime on its own.

Have women been prosecuted for drug abuse during pregnancy?

In Florida, women have been prosecuted for using drugs while pregnant.

Florida Drug Use During Pregnancy Laws
Florida Drug Use During Pregnancy Laws

Is substance abuse during pregnancy considered child abuse?

Florida considers drug abuse during pregnancy child abuse, and women can be prosecuted for this crime.

Is it grounds for civil commitment for substance abuse during pregnancy?

Though women can be charged with child abuse because of drug use, they cannot be committed to a hospital involuntarily in Florida.

Will health care workers have to report substance abuse during pregnancy?

In some states, if doctors or nurses suspect that a woman is using drugs during her pregnancy, they must report it, but this is not the case in Florida.

Is a drug test required if drug use has been suspected during pregnancy?

There is also no requirement to force that woman to get a drug test. And it’s also against the law to discriminate against Florida women who seek help from publicly funded programs.

Court Findings And Rulings

Occasionally, when women are found to be using drugs during pregnancy and cannot be charged with child abuse, women can be convinced of offenses usually used against drug traffickers. Many of the laws surrounding these issues are vague, which makes prosecuting women for these crimes difficult.

In Florida, pregnant women and newborns are not universally screened for drugs. Only women who are suspected of drug use or admit that they have used during pregnancy can be screened, and their babies will likely be screened upon birth as well. If a newborn baby tests positive for some illicit drugs, this could violate child welfare laws. In such cases, a child may be removed from the custody of their parents.

Though each case is handled on an individual basis, it’s important to remember that drug use during pregnancy is considered child abuse and women may be prosecuted for this crime.

Drug Use During Pregnancy

Pregnancy and drug addiction don’t mix. Sometimes, drug use can result in a miscarriage (babies who die in the womb before 20 weeks gestation), stillbirth (babies who die in the womb after 20 weeks gestation), birth defects, heart defects, premature labor (babies born before 37 weeks), a higher risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) for the baby, and withdrawal symptoms in the baby, among other issues. It’s possible that babies can be born addicted to certain drugs, and there are disorders like fetal alcohol spectrum disorder that cause a distinct set of issues for the child throughout their life.

Drug use and pregnancy laws in Florida
Drug use and pregnancy laws in Florida

Women who use drugs during their pregnancy can be setting their unborn child up for a lifetime of struggles and may be at risk for losing custody of their baby after birth or at some point during childhood. No amount of drug use or alcohol consumption is safe for a fetus, though the effects of these substances on unborn babies are still being studied. If you are pregnant and struggling with substance abuse, don’t wait to get help. Your life and the life of your unborn child are both at stake. It’s important to detox from the drug in question and find the support you need to make it through the rest of your pregnancy without turning to drugs.