SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. – The death of a Nicholas County baby resulted in charges against the mother. Stephanie Louk overdosed on meth when she was nine months pregnant and had a heart attack, as a result. Doctors had to deliver her baby via c-section, in order to save the infant’s life.
Nicholas County Prosecutor P.K. Milam said the law is clear. Charges can be filed against Louk.
“There’s a statute where ingestation, of a controlled substance, by a mother, while pregnant and causing a death, is actually first degree murder but it is not laid out, in the statute itself, the elements of the crime,” explained Milam. “So we had to go under the neglect statute.”
Louk is currently housed in the Central Regional Jail, on child neglect resulting in death.
“It’s a tragedy. There’s no winner in this. We have a dead child here,” stressed Milam. “It’s as a result of someone using methamphetamines when they are pregnant. It’s hard to believe that someone would do something like that.”
Milam will have to prove in court that the mother’s overdose directly caused the death, of the child. He said there is some leeway, if Louk is convicted.
“There should be some punishment, of course, for her actions,” said Milam. “But, at the same time, there’s going to be a need for treatment so that something like this doesn’t happen again, if she was to get pregnant again.”
Louk said this case really shines a spotlight on the real crisis.
“Until we can stop people from getting their hands on pseudoephedrine, at any time, we’re going to continue to have this problem.”
Pseudoephedrine is one of the main ingredients in meth. You can only buy the drug over the counter and only so much each month. But Milam said that hasn’t slowed down meth production here, in West Virginia, because users are skirting the law. They get several people to purchase the pills so it doesn’t set off alarm bells.
Milam believes the only real way to put a dent, in the problem, is to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug.