Madisonville, Tennessee — The Monroe County sheriff’s Department has made their first arrest under a new state law that allows law enforcement to arrest the mother of a newborn that tests positive for drugs.
Mallory Loyola, 26, of Madisonville, gave birth to a baby girl on July 6, 2014. UT Medical Center notified the Department of Child Services that Loyola’s baby tested positive for methamphetamine and DCS then notified the sheriff’s department. Loyola was then arrested and charged with assault.
“Loyola admitted to smoking meth just a few days before giving birth,” said Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens. “Anytime someone is addicted and they can’t get off drugs for their own child, their own flesh and blood, it’s sad,” he said.
Sheriff Bivens said he hopes this first arrest will be a warning to other moms and maybe save someone’s life.
The new law went into effect July 1, 2014.
The new law states: “A woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”
The assault charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. However, the new law does allow entering into a treatment program before the birth and successfully completing it afterwards as a defense.
State officials said the only opposition they have encountered, is other drug addicts.
Loyola also has previous arrests for Violation of Probation and Possession of Methamphetamine.
Her bond was finally set at $2,000 on July 10, 2014.