Maryville woman charged with abuse for using drugs during pregnancy

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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Police are looking for a mother who gave birth to a drug-dependent baby. She's the first Maryville woman to face charges for abusing drugs during pregnancy.

The mother admitted she used illegal and prescription drugs during her pregnancy. Now police have a warrant out for her arrest.

Metropolitan Drug Commission Karen Pershing says, "She was not only using heroin, but also Xanax."

She's talking about a 28 year-old mom in Maryville whose baby tested positive for drugs.

According to the report, the Department of Children Services notified Maryville Police of the situation on August 8th after the baby was born with drugs in his system.

The mother hasn't been located, so she hasn't been charged.

Pershing says, "I think it's going to be difficult for them to even find this mother because more then likely she is aware that she is going to be charged or was going to be."

Catrina Beck knows all too well the effects drugs have on newborns. She adopted Eli who was born dependent on drugs. Beck says, "What these kids go through when they're born is horrific when they're weening off the drugs."

She doesn't agree with the new law allowing mothers to be charged.

Beck says, "Once they start hearing about it in their circles, they're not going to go to the hospital to have their babies because they're going to be afraid that the're going to get arrested."

Pershing says, "The biggest concern we have about the law is that women won't seek prenatal care."

If they find the mom she will face assault charges. It's a misdemeanor, so she could spend up to a year behind bars.

Police haven't released her name yet. The baby has been taken away from the mother and placed in DCS custody.

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