West Virginia Bill Regarding Substance Abuse During Pregnancy (HB 4623)
This law was last updated on May 8, 2018
HB 4623 would provide a process for pregnant and postpartum persons to receive substance abuse treatment.
Exposure During Pregnancy to Controlled Substances
The bill would allow a health-care practitioner to administer a urine drug screen test and/or serum blood test to a pregnant person under his or her care during the antenatal and/or postpartum period. The health-care practitioner would be able to perform additional testing at his or her discretion.
The health-care practitioner would be required to report a positive urine or serum drug screen for a nonprescribed controlled substance within five days to the department of health and human resources.
The department would be required to contact the pregnant or postpartum person within five days to schedule an assessment. The department may refer the pregnant or postpartum person to the appropriate services. The department would be required to inform the pregnant or postpartum person that refusal to accept services may lead to ineligibility for public assistance.
If the pregnant or postpartum person refuses such services, the department may file an involuntary commitment petition.
Newborn Exposure to Controlled Substances
The bill would require a health-care practitioner to administer a toxicology test to determine whether there is evidence the newborn has been exposed to a nonprescribed controlled substance. The results may be reported to the department. The department would be required to immediately refer the postpartum person to the appropriate services.
If services are refused, the department may report the results as neglect and abuse.
The bill would amend the definition of addiction under West Virginia law to include “nonprescribed controlled substance abuse during pregnancy.”
The bill would amend West Virginia criminal code regarding child abuse to include the offense of refusing treatment after exposing a fetus to a nonprescribed controlled substance.
Specifically, if a pregnant person exposes a fetus to a nonprescribed controlled substance, and the person refuses to enter treatment, the person may be found guilty of a misdemeanor, be fined up to $500, and would be referred to the department of health and human resources to be assessed for appropriate services or treatment.
Passed the house on February 27, 2018, by an 85-14 vote.
Failed to pass.