Study highlights racial inequity in newborn drug testing

Study highlights racial inequity in newborn drug testing
Cannabis Health News

Researchers investigating the rates of drug testing in newborns in the US found that Black babies were disproportionately more likely to be tested than White, pointing to ‘structural and institutional racism’.  A new study published this month reveals that clinicians were more likely to carry out newborn drug testing in Black babies than those who were White or of other ethnic heritage. Both before and after statewide legalisation of recreational cannabis, clinicians ordered newborn drug tests more frequently for Black newborns when no drug testing was done during pregnancy.  Those behind the study are now calling for further exploration into how structural and institutional racism may lead to the disproportionate reporting of Black parents to Child Protective Services (CPS). With cannabis now legally available in a growing number of US states, statistics show an increase in consumption during pregnancy.  Previous research has shown that many women turn to cannabis during pregnancy for medicinal reasons, such as to manage sickness and nausea or to treat existing medical conditions. There is very little evidence on the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy, although some studies have indicated that it may increase the risk of the baby being born prematurely and/or lower birth weight.  According to the paper, in the state where this study was conducted a CPS report is mandatory following a THC-positive newborn drug test. This is despite a lack of studies demonstrating that cannabis use in pregnancy increases the risk of child abuse or neglect. Black newborns a third more likely to be drug tested A team of researchers looked at data from over 26,300 births between 2014-2020, at a medical centre in the Midwestern United States. The findings showed that Black newborns had 31% higher odds of being drug tested compared with White. The incidence of newborn drug test…

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