Mothers across North Carolina found themselves stunned when doctors claimed they had exposed their newborn child to marijuana. These kinds of accusations and charges can follow a person around for many years. When a new mother is the one being charged with use or possession of marijuana, people can be extremely judgmental. However, it is important to remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
For example, a North Carolina hospital recently claimed to have seen a dramatic increase in newborns testing positive for marijuana. Immediately, people blamed the mothers, suggesting they were creating an unsafe environment for their new baby. Even when the mothers would vehemently deny any instance of exposure to marijuana, many were arrested based on the positive tests. However, these tests were recently found to be quite inaccurate.
According to researchers, several babies were washed with common baby soaps and shampoos prior to the marijuana tests. These soaps were found to be the culprits of numerous false-positive tests for THC. Some of the chemicals found in baby soaps and shampoos were triggering a positive test result.
Even though drug testing babies is common, it is not universal. Many mothers who are considered to be "high-risk" are targeted by hospitals for the drug testing. With that potential bias in place, it was sadly not surprising that many people did not believe mothers who denied the allegations.
While it is of utmost importance to make sure a baby is safe and healthy, the false accusations of drug use among many mothers in North Carolina may have long lasting effects. Hopefully, the discovery of these inaccurate tests will lead to better testing methods and fewer fingers automatically pointed at a mother.
Source: ABC News, "Chemicals in Baby Shampoos Lead to False Marijuana Positives," Kevin Dolak, June 20, 2012