Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Arkansas

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Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-103(3)(A), (14)(B)

'Abuse' means any of the following acts or omissions by a parent; guardian; custodian; foster parent; person age 18 or older living in the home with a child, whether related or unrelated to the child; or any person who is entrusted with the juvenile's care by a parent, guardian, custodian, or foster parent, including, but not limited to, an agent or employee of a public or private residential home, child care facility, public or private school; or any person legally responsible for the juvenile's welfare, but excluding the spouse of a minor:

  • Giving a child or permitting a child to consume or inhale a poisonous or noxious substance not prescribed by a physician that has the capacity to interfere with normal physiological functions
  • Giving a child or permitting a child to consume or inhale a substance not prescribed by a physician that has the capacity to alter the mood of the child, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Marijuana
    • Alcohol, excluding alcohol given to a child during a recognized and established religious ceremony or service
    • A narcotic
    • An over-the-counter drug, if a person purposely administers an overdose to a child or purposely gives an inappropriate over-the-counter drug to a child and the child is detrimentally impacted by the overdose or the over-the-counter drug
  • Exposing a child to a chemical that has the capacity to interfere with normal physiological functions, including, but not limited to, a chemical used or generated during the manufacture of methamphetamine

'Neglect' shall include the following:

  • Causing a child to be born with an illegal substance present in the child's bodily fluids or bodily substances as a result of the pregnant mother's knowingly using an illegal substance before the birth of the child 
  • At the time of the birth of a child, the presence of an illegal substance in the mother's bodily fluids or bodily substances as a result of the pregnant mother's knowingly using an illegal substance before the birth of the child

As used in this subdivision, 'illegal substance' means a drug that is prohibited to be used or possessed without a prescription under the Arkansas Criminal Code, § 5-1-101, et seq. A test of the child's bodily fluids or bodily substances may be used as evidence to establish neglect under this subdivision. A test of the mother's bodily fluids or bodily substances may be used as evidence to establish neglect under this subdivision.

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-310 

All health-care providers involved in the delivery or care of infants shall do the following:

  • Contact the Department of Human Services regarding an infant born with and affected by any of the following:
    • A fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
    • Maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
    • Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
  • Share all pertinent information, including health information, with the department regarding an infant born with and affected by any of the following:
    • A fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
    • Maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
    • Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance

The department shall accept referrals, calls, and other communications from health-care providers involved in the delivery or care of infants born and affected with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance, or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance. The department shall develop a plan of safe care for infants affected with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance, or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance.

Citation: Ann. Code § 5-64-407 

A person who is found guilty of or who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to manufacture of methamphetamine or possession of drug paraphernalia with the purpose to manufacture methamphetamine may be subject to an enhanced sentence of an additional 10-year term of imprisonment if the offense is committed as follows:

  • In the presence of a minor, elderly person, or incompetent person who may or may not be related to the person
  • With a minor, elderly person, or incompetent person in the same home or building where the methamphetamine was being manufactured or the drug paraphernalia to manufacture methamphetamine was in use or was in preparation to be used
  • With a minor, elderly person, or incompetent person present in the same immediate area or in the same vehicle at the time of the person's arrest for the offense

The enhanced portion of the sentence is consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Any person sentenced under this section is not eligible for early release on parole or community correction transfer for the enhanced portion of the sentence.

As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

  • 'Elderly person' means any person age 70 or older.
  • 'Incompetent person' means any person who is incapable of consent because he or she is physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated.
  • 'Minor' means any person under age 18.