FRANKFORT, KY. - A new bill has been proposed in the Senate that aims to address the issue of child deaths related to substance abuse. Senate Bill 97 requires parents and caregivers suspected of being under the influence at the time of a child's suspicious death to consent to a blood, breath, or urine test. Also, the bill grants law enforcement the authority to request a search warrant if consent is not provided.
The bill also mandates that coroners inform law enforcement, the Department for Community-Based Services, and the local health department immediately after learning of the child's death. This is an essential step towards addressing the issue of child fatalities related to substance abuse and ensuring that the proper authorities are informed promptly.
In addition to the provisions related to substance abuse testing, the External Child Fatality and Near-Fatality Review Panel has also been expanded. The panel now has 17 members, up from 15 previously, and will play an essential role in reviewing cases related to child deaths and near fatalities.
The proposed bill highlights the importance of addressing the issue of substance abuse and its impact on children. Moreover, by requiring testing and granting law enforcement the authority to request a search warrant in the event of non-consent, the bill takes a proactive approach to ensure that those who may have played a role in a child's death are held accountable.
Expanding the External Child Fatality and Near-Fatality Review Panel is also significant, as it shows the state's commitment to thoroughly reviewing and addressing cases of deaths and near fatalities. Additionally, by increasing the panel size, the state is ensuring that a diverse range of perspectives and expertise is brought to the table, which will help ensure that the most effective solutions are implemented.
In closing, the proposed Senate Bill 97 is an important step toward addressing the issue of child deaths related to substance abuse. By requiring testing, mandating immediate reporting, and expanding the External Child Fatality and Near-Fatality Review Panel, the bill takes a proactive approach to ensure that those who may have played a role in a child's death are held accountable that the issue of substance abuse is thoroughly addressed.