Mom wanted after newborn tests positive for illegal drugs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police are searching for a 30-year-old woman whose newborn tested positive for illegal drugs.

This is the Memphis Police Department’s first case involving a new state law that criminalizes drug use while pregnant. In other states, prosecutors aren’t able to charge mothers for drug use during pregnancy, although several states classify it as a child welfare offense.

Jamillah Washington is the first woman in Shelby County, and just the second in the state of Tennessee, to face charges under the new law.

A warrant for simple assault has been issued for Washington, who gave birth July 5 at a local hospital.

Medical personnel drug tested the baby, then notified DCS after receiving the positive results.

DCS then informed MPD on July 17  that the baby was addicted to drugs. The Sex Crimes/Juvenile Abuse completed its own investigation and then issued the warrant.

If you can help police find Washington, call CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH.

The CEO of Sister Reach, an advocacy program for women, says she knew the day would come when a brand new mother winds up on the run, abandoning her newborn out of fear of arrest.

“That important bonding time between mother and son, or mother and daughter, is now being halted because this woman has to go to jail,” Cherisse Scott said.

Washington’s neighbor, Tina Askew, said, “Putting her in jail won’t help her addiction.”

“Give her a chance, as far as an option to get some type of treatment,” she added.

A Knoxville woman was the first mother charged under the new law. Police arrested her as she was being discharged from the hospital.

Scott says the practice may discourage drug-addicted mothers from getting prenatal care, and could split up other families.

Advocates of the law say babies born to drug addicted mothers is a growing problem and that something must be done to address it.

28 comments

  • SAY IT AINT SO!

    Ummm!! What kind of illegal drug ? Must be weed since it was not mentioned. If it were real drugs it would have been stated.

  • Really!

    Is testing a newborn for illegal drugs without parental consent or legal warrant Legal? In addition who picks up the medical tab for this, the parent?

  • Jenny

    @bellringer..
    A baby can have withdrawals from thc..
    It is not illegal to test a newborn if it is suspected that the mother has used any type of drug.

  • Nick

    This is sad. So it is ok to adversely effect your unborn child’s development with THC,just not hard drugs.

  • Nick

    At least no racist comments have been posted yet. Just stupid ones from stupid people defending a criminal and child abuser. SAY IT AIN’T SO and BELLRINGER you two are pathetic. This “mother” ( term used loosely ) is garbage. She needs to be fixed.

    • SAY IT AINT SO!

      Neither did I reccomend nor defend using any type of drug while pregnant . You are the stupid one because you are unable to comprehend what you read dummy. Product of MCS back in the day.

    • BellRinger

      You shouldn’t ASSume things…. FYI I never condoned the use of marijuana while pregnant, but also FYI medicinal marijuana has been used by doctors to treat ailments in pregnant women before, it has also been used to treat epilepsy in infants. Final Thought:: Don’t come for me if I don’t send for you!

  • JOSEPH LIEGEL

    Bet you dollars to doughnuts that there is no father in the picture, she already has several children whose father is not in the picture and she pulls from every social program imaginable. I’m taking book and giving 2/1 odds……….any takers ???

  • impulse item

    The bonding time is being interrupted because this creature is in hiding. She cares more for herself than she does her baby(typical) so she should be in jail.

  • Terrie

    The lady who’s saying it isn’t fair is most likely on drugs too. It’s the only thing they’ve come up with to deter these idiots having unprotected sex & breeding. This poor bay’s life started out as pure hell & they want to protect the useless female that gave birth!?!? Really? Why do they stick together???
    Good job to all that tested, caught it & chasing after this useless idiot!

  • Terrie

    Ok channel 3 – if you don’t like what I say, fine. but you can’t block my posts because of it. You can block any word I may say or that may hurt your ears, but not my point unless you too are looking for a lawsuit. My point WAS, this woman speaking about mother & baby can’t bond..I say to her..Mind your own business & hush! You screamed for help & here it is. The won’t stop so we’ll stop them! If this useless female cared about the baby she wouldnt be running! Really?

  • eddie cooper

    I was horrified when I heard about this law, and now the side effects begin. Did any of the people voting for this stupid law really think about the children? How many women are going to jail because of it? Not many they will just stop going to the hospital and endanger their babies even more.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Throwing my 2 cents worth in. My son and the gf/wife wtf….did pot while she was pregnant both oldest girls. Neither had a single birth defect, nothing. Older, just typical teenagers….son and gf/wife did meth regularly while she was pregnant with youngest, who, now, is approaching 9 yrs old. As a result, youngest daughter has downs syndrome and doesn’t talk, very active, very combative. But has never uttered one single word. Can be somewhat loving at times but then slap u.

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Ashley Crockett, then pls slap ur spam filter and post my remark about my 3 granddaughters. Ty

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