Doctors and children advocates weigh in on bill that would help drug addicted babies

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A bill aimed at protecting South Carolina babies moves along to the state full House Committee.

The legislation would require every medical professional to report to DSS when an infant or fetus is exposed to alcohol or controlled substances. 

Maternity care doctors at Grand Strand Medical Center say they come in contact with babies exposed to drugs or alcohol on a regular basis. 

“Mostly narcotics, so we do see a fair amount of it,” said Dr. Mike Maurer, a Neonatologist at Grand Strand.

He says he thinks implementing legislation that requires medical providers to always report these cases, while seeking treatment for the parent, is a step in the right direction. 

“Early detection and offering treatment alternatives for mothers and fathers who are addicted to substances and therefore reducing the risk the parent has to go through in an ongoing basis, I think that’s a great idea and always worth while,” said Maurer. 

Workers at the Children’s Advocacy Center for Horry County who work alongside DSS who say they’ve interviewed local children who have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in their past, but can’t always articulate what happened to them. 

“Because they don’t have a full understanding of it, they don’t always know what’s happening,” Haydee Sencion, a forensic interviewer. 

“Because they don’t have a full understanding of it, they don’t always know what’s happening,” 

She says pushing for more laws to require people to report will help the community better understand the issue. 

“If we can work on getting things done early on, I think kids have a better chance of having a better life, a happy life,” said Sencion.

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