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Substance abuse is a major medical and social problem. Estimates suggest that each year some 15 percent of the 4 million babies born in the United States are exposed to drugs or alcohol. Research demonstrates that exposure to these substances is harmful to the children in both the short term and across their developmental trajectory. This chapter summarizes the harms that might result from such prenatal exposure and considers the ways that both federal and state law respond to this. The chapter argues for universal drug testing of newborns in an effort to ascertain whether they have been prenatally exposed to such substances so that treatment and other services can be provided


“Of Sound Mind and Body”: A call for universal drug screening for all newborns by Frank E. Vandervort and Vincent J. Palusci in The Oxford Handbook of Children and the Law, edited by James G. Dwyer, 2020, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. Available from DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190694395.013.4

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