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East Tennessee Mother First To Face Charges Under New Drug Law

East Tennessee Mother First To Face Charges Under New Drug Law

CREATED Jul 11, 2014

MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. - An east Tennessee woman has been charged under a new state law that makes it a crime for expecting mothers to use drugs.

Mallory Loyola, of Madisonville, was charged with simple assault after the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said both she and her newborn daughter tested positive for meth. The baby was born on Sunday, July 6 at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

Deputies said Loyola admitted to smoking meth three to four days before giving birth to her child. She has a history of meth-related arrests in Monroe County.

Loyola’s case is the first to be prosecuted under the new law, which went into effect July 1. 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."

Supporters pointed to the high number of addicted babies. Opponents said it discouraged women from seeking treatment.

Previously, women in these situations were protected from prosecution.