In what police describe as "a sad case, no matter how you look at it," an Alabama judge has ordered a suspected drug addict to remain behind bars until she gives birth to her second child. Authorities say Alexandra Nicole Laird, 21, gave birth to a baby girl who tested positive for opiates in March. She later admitted to using heroin one or two times a week for most of her pregnancy and was charged with chemical endangerment of a child, says Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Danny Reid. In the months that followed, she was charged with drug possession and failure to appear in court, reports AL.com. Jailed last week, she told officers she was again pregnant and using heroin daily, Reid says.
"I'm doing my damndest to try to prevent any further damage to this child, since it's obvious the mother doesn't seem to care,'' Reid told a judge Tuesday, securing a second child-endangerment charge against Laird, who is believed to be 18 to 20 weeks pregnant. "You won't know you've truly victimized this child until much later in life when she has trouble in school, trouble functioning,'' he told Laird at an earlier hearing. Laird does not have custody of her 1-year-old daughter, who spent a month in the ICU after birth for withdrawals, reports AL.com. In a sign of America's opiate epidemic, Reuters previously reported that one drug-addicted baby is born every 19 minutes, according to 2013 numbers. (Addicts have died from withdrawal in jail.)