Drug Testing of New Parents

Racial disparities are well-documented in the healthcare system. New York City hospitals overwhelmingly target Black and Latine/x/a/o/Hispanic parents and newborns for surreptitious drug tests. Drug tests often lead to unnecessary calls to the State Central Register solely because a parent or newborn tests positive for a substance when there are no indicators of harm to the child. These reports expose Black and Latine/x/a/o/Hispanic families to harmful government intervention, and in some cases, family separation. In this way, the current reporting practices threaten the health and wellbeing of both the parent and newborn. Selective drug testing of pregnant or postpartum people and newborns in steeped in the implicit bias of service providers. And thus, similar to stop and frisk practices, the “test and report” practice of hospitals and family regulation authorities reveal extreme racial disparities.

BDS advocates for the passage of the Informed Consent Bill (S4821/A4285), which will prohibit non-consensual drug and alcohol testing and screening of pregnant and newly parenting people and their newborns unless there is a medical emergency.



BDS Testimony before New York City Council Committee on the Impact of Marijuana Policies on Child Welfare


The Gothamist Article: NYC Will End Practice Of Drug Testing Pregnant Patients Without Written Consent


BDS Joint Comments before New York State Senate Committee on Women’s Issues Roundtable Regarding Maternal and Child Health

An illustration of a social worker taking notes as they talks to their client.

Pass the Informed Consent Bill

Take action to pass the Informed Consent Bill (S4821/A4285) to ensure that patients be made aware of the health benefits as well as the legal consequences of consenting to a drug test, be allowed to make informed decisions about their medical care, and to give their consent in writing.