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Pregnant women in Tenn. using drugs could face criminal charges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV/WKRC) -- Women who give birth to babies who are born addicted due to the mother's drug use could face criminal charges.

The state of Tennessee has focused on treating pregnant drug abusers rather than charging them but legislation to be voted on this week could change that.

The Tennessee House passed Bill 1295 and the Senate is expected to vote on their version of the bill (SB 1391) this week. Under the bill, women could be charged with misdemeanor assault.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition in which a baby has withdrawal symptoms because of exposure to substances. The syndrome is not just caused by illegal drugs. Medications such as painkillers and benzodiazepines (taken for anxiety or sleep) can also cause symptoms.

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