Addressing Prenatal Substance Abuse

S.C. lawmakers want more action

Patrick Gentry
March 29, 2019 - 2:48 pm

Some South Carolina lawmakers are considering legislation that would require doctors, nurses or other medical professionals to report to child welfare services if a child is diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome or a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Members of a House subcommittee endorsed the measure Thursday.

Medical professionals already must report abuse. The new measure would require them to submit a report to the Department of Social Services if they find that a child less than a year old is medically affected by prenatal substance abuse or withdrawal.

Republican Rep. Russell Fry of Surfside Beach said it's an emerging and increasingly problematic issue and said reports will help speed efforts to promote the health of the baby and mother.

The bill now goes to a full House committee.

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