Child Endangerment Investigation

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In the last two months, several Covington County law enforcement agencies have made chemical endangerment cases. The state law aimed at protecting children and the unborn is relatively new.

Veteran law enforcement officers say it's the saddest part of the job; finding young children in meth houses.

Recently, the Alabama Legislature passed the Chemical Endangerment Law. It stiffens the penalty of a parent who exposes their unborn or child to illegal narcotics.

Chief Wilbur Williams with the Andalusia Police Department said, "We expect it to increase, but [we are] letting people know putting your child, or pregnant child in danger of drugs; we here will prosecute you to the hill."

Emergency room personnel at Mizell Memorial Hospital in Opp have seen pregnant women on drugs; a risk that increases ten-fold the future health problems of the child.

Registered Nurse Debbie Franklin at Mizell Memorial Hospital said, "It affects oxygen levels, blood pressure, heart rate; it can create a disastrous delivery from what should have been a normal, or good one."

For one veteran investigator with the Covington County Drug Task Force, the Chemical Endangerment Law is a good one. "It protects the most vulnerable of society, the young children from drugs. They don't have a choice when it comes to living in such a household," said Investigator Paul Hudson.

If a woman tests positive for illegal drugs, authorities will work together to remove that child from the situation.

State lawmakers are looking at additional ways to hold parents responsible for endangering their children to illegal drugs.

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