Collateral damage: Children tested positive for drugs in recent Etowah County cases – Gadsden Times

In two recent cases, the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office arrested adults for chemical endangerment of a child when children — a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old — tested positive for illegal drugs, according to Sheriff Jonathon Horton.
A charge of chemical endangerment of a child means a person is accused of exposing a child to an environment in which controlled substances are ingested, produced or distributed. It’s a felony charge. Often the charge is brought when drugs are used during a pregnancy, or a child tests positive for drugs at birth.
Etowah County Drug Enforcement Agency Commander Kevin Hassell said that in some cases, it means drugs such as marijuana or methamphetamine were smoked in the presence of a child.
A Rainbow City couple was arrested Feb. 6 on charges of chemical endangerment after their one-year-old child tested positive for marijuana, Investigator Brandi Fuller said. In this case, the Department of Human Resources received a report of child abuse, and when a drug screen was administered on the child and its father, both tested positive for marijuana.
Fuller said both adults admitted smoking marijuana in their home; the child has been placed in a safety plan.
An Attalla woman was charged Feb. 8 with chemical endangerment after a 3-year-old tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. The investigation began after an anonymous call reporting a family was using drugs around the 3-year-old.
As the case was investigated, the 25-year-old woman who was charged and other family members including the 3-year-old tested positive for drugs. Fuller said the woman admitted smoking methamphetamine; the child was removed from the residence.
Hassell said it’s always disturbing for agents when they encounter drugs in a home where there are children.
Even though the agents encounter heroin and fentanyl locally, Hassell said he knows of no incidents where children suffered from exposure to those more deadly drugs.
The Rainbow City couple and the Attalla woman were held in the Etowah County Detention Center on $10,000 bonds, with a bond condition that they will go to a drug treatment facility and be monitored by Etowah County Court Referral upon release.
Contact Gadsden Times reporter Donna Thornton at 256-393-3284 or donna.thornton@gadsdentimes.com.

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