The Dilemma of the Drug-Exposed Newborn: An Analysis of the Trend Away From Punitive Action Toward Treatment Intervention

June 1994

Rhode Island Bar Journal
In the United States 375.000 babies are born each year who have been envied to illicit drugs in utero.' In Rhode Island. approximately 1,520 babies a year 1 or out of every 10 have been exposed. The social and legal Problems of crack babies or drug addicted babies have attracted the attention of the media, the medical community, social service agencies, state legislatures, prosecutors, and Congress. Indeed, women have been criminally indicted for the deaths of their children when 1) a drug-addicted woman disobeyed her doctor's orders and 2) death was the result of intrauterine drug exposure.