Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Louisiana

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Citation: Rev. Stat. § 14:93 

The term 'cruelty to juveniles' includes the following:

  • The intentional or criminally negligent exposure by anyone age 17 or older of any child under age 17 to a clandestine laboratory operation for the unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, as defined by Rev. Stat. § 40:983, in a situation where it is foreseeable that the child may be physically harmed
  • The intentional or criminally negligent allowing of any child under age 17 by any person over age 17 to be present during the manufacturing, distribution, or purchasing or attempted manufacturing, distribution, or purchasing of a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law

Lack of knowledge of the child's age shall not be a defense. Whoever commits the crime of cruelty to juveniles shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than 10 years, or both. Whoever commits the crime of cruelty to juveniles when the victim is age 8 or younger shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than 20 years.

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603(19), (24) 

The term 'newborn' means a child who is not more than 30 days old, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty by an examining physician.

'Prenatal neglect' means the unlawful use of a controlled dangerous substance, as defined by Rev. Stat. § 40:961, et seq., by a mother during pregnancy that results in symptoms of withdrawal in the infant or the presence of a controlled substance in the infant’s body. 'Prenatal neglect' also means exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol or the unlawful use of any controlled dangerous substance, as defined by Rev. Stat. § 40:961, et seq., or in a manner not lawfully prescribed, which results in symptoms of withdrawal in the newborn or the presence of a controlled substance or a metabolic thereof in his or her body, blood, urine, or meconium that is not the result of medical treatment or observable and harmful effects in his or her physical appearance or functioning.

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 610(G)

If a physician has cause to believe that a newborn was exposed in utero to an unlawfully used controlled dangerous substance, as defined by Rev. Stat. § 40:961, et seq., the physician shall order a toxicology test upon the newborn, without the consent of the newborn's parents or guardian, to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal neglect. If the test results are positive, the physician shall issue a report in accordance with this article as soon as possible. If the test results are negative, all identifying information shall be obliterated if the record is retained, unless the parent approves the inclusion of identifying information. Positive test results shall not be admissible in a criminal prosecution.

If there are symptoms of withdrawal in the newborn or other observable and harmful effects in his or her physical appearance or functioning that a physician has cause to believe are due to the chronic or severe use of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy or are the effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, the physician shall issue a report in accordance with this article.