Lawrence Co. Mom Sues CYS For Seizing Child

NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — A mother is accusing Lawrence County Children and Youth Services of wrongly taking a child because of a positive opiate test.

Eileen Ann Bower claims her positive test results were from eating poppy seeds and not from doing drugs.

Three days after she gave birth to her son, Brandon Brothers, in July of 2009 at Jameson Hospital in New Castle, Lawrence County CYS took the boy away from her, saying she tested positive for drugs.

“I was clueless as to how that even happened, how my drug test even came up with anything in it,” Bower said. “I was kind of shocked actually, to say.”

Bower said the last thing she’d eaten before giving birth was a salad topped with a dressing that contained poppy seeds. Poppy seeds contain morphine, codeine and can give false drug readings.

She got her son back after 75 days.

Bowers said she hopes the lawsuit will spare other mothers future embarrassment.

“For them to tell you you can only see your son an hour a day, supervised visits at an office – nobody should ever have to go through that,” she said.

Lawrence County CYS says they have not seen the lawsuit and will not comment on individual cases.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Friday.


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  • missy

    this idiot should be grateful that women are even tested for drugs. EVERY woman having a baby should be! the fact that she tested positive for opiates from eating a poppyseed bagel means that she ate what MANY doctors tell pregnant women to steer clear of for this very reason. But I am sure a chiseling attorney will try to spin this frivolous lawsuit into a cash cow. She shoule NOT be allowed to sue for her own stupidity!

    • jwo

      Is it even constitutional to administer a drug test to a woman because she is pregnant? I don’t know your situation miissy but let someone take your child away from you for 75 days, see how frivolous you become. A cash cow? If this mother was on drugs while pregnant shame on her, but the child has a right to bond with their mother. Women probably shouldn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs when they are pregnant, BUT it’s a little better than the guy that smashed his newborns head in with a cinder block!

    • Frank

      So you actually think that someone should not eat legal food because if so the gvt has the right to take away your child from a false positive? I don’t know if this lady is telling the truth or not. She could be a crackhead for all I know…but to say she is an idiot for eating legal food is the most moronic thing I’ve heard.

      Rather than blame the mother, blame the test if you believe that normal food can result in false results.

    • neicy

      you are stupid for posting this comment-that was heartbreaking for her baby to be taken away from her & she didn’t do anything wrong.

    • john

      missy, you are the epitome of the word “idiot”.

  • JP Gibb

    Doesn’t they change the tests in the late ’90s so it would take an absurd amount of food (something like 100 bagels, IIRC) to cause a false positive?

  • Gary Ray

    Sadly I quit eating poppy seed rolls for this very reason.Yes they will make you show up positive.Which I learned when a cousin who is a non drug user temporarily lost employment over it.They make the best rolls down in Lyndora,miss them so much:-(

  • P

    sorry but even the cheap home tests won’t show up positive, if you had a bagel, salad dressing, etc. with INACTIVE poppy seeds. they do sell raw poppy pods that contain the full raw drug, but when processed the actual opium tincture(part that gets you high) is washed out. opiates are water soluble so they do a wash for seeds that are to be consumed. now the old drug tests couldn’t tell the difference till it got to a lab for full analysis. tests today easily distinguish the minuscule amount of raw opium. so if you or anybody you know fails a drug test and used the bagel excuse its a lie, of course unless they consumed 100’s of bagels or drank gallons of dressing. she SHOULD loose the case, but in front of uneducated jurors(even some judges) she has a shot. cys just has to have an expert that can clearly explain the difference. right now these are just claims by her. the fact she got her kid back doesn’t mean they made a mistake just she hasn’t failed a drug test since.

  • Sage

    So, positive test or not, everyone seems to think it’s ok to confiscate her child. If this is the only thing it’s based on, that’s ridiculous. What crime was she charged with? Was the baby born addicted to drugs? Why was she tested? Who authorized this test?

    Way too many questions left unanswered even for sheep to jump on the government bandwagon here. If these questions can’t be answered by this government agency, I hope they’re sued so badly they have to pay for every expense her child has up to the age of 18.

    The government already spends more of our money than we could possibly repay in 20 lifetimes. Do they have to involve themselves in EVERY aspect of life?

    • Frank

      evidently “missy” the fvct@rd above thinks so. Too many people support the oppressive govt and their overreaching into our lives. If she indeed tested positive for a test that has been known to be questionable then the results should have been just one flag into a bigger picture. From there they (gvt) could continue to look into it. But knee-jerks want to believe the govt and hate the private citizen. Orwell was right…just picked the wrong year.

  • Larry

    Why if she tested positive did they RETURN the baby? And why do so many mothers who are addicted to drugs get THEIR kids? I don’t know what you people do for careers that you pretend to know so much about drug tests. My thoughts tend to believe that with new procedures and what I would assume would be more sensitive testing would pick the tiniest amounts of suspicious substances. I’m sure many a professional athlete has failed tests for substances where there was only traces left in the system.

    • Sarah Deren

      According to other news stories, CYS is only supposed to investigate and seize the child if the tests show at least 300 nanograms of opiates. Her level was FAR below that, only a few nanograms, but they seized her child anyways which is why she’s suing.
      In order for her to get her child back (after 2 1/2 months no less), she probably had to go to court multiple times as well as go through all kind of drug-testing and home visits and psychological evaluations through Family Services. So it’s not like they just “gave her back.” She was put through the ringer, that’s what they do at CYS. I’d sue their butts off too!

  • Larry

    Why is everyone in this country so hostile and opinionated anymore? The agency that took the baby only kept it for 75 days. Missy (I assume that you are female) how would you feel if a government agency came in and legally kidnapped YOUR baby, or your sister’s baby, and kept for the first three and a half months of its life? Isn’t this supposed to be a special time for a woman and baby? And you people are upset that SHE’S UPSET?!? Give her a break.

  • Dan

    The comments here are alarming in the grand scheme of things. We claim that there’s “innocence until proven guilty”, yet support, or in many cases don’t question, the government in violating their own tenets that we bestowed upon them. When willl people have enough of this invasion into our privacy?

    • Lisa


  • Lisa

    Anyone here of illegal search and seizure? Not that it makes it any better, but do they test everyone, from the well-to-do to the poor? If not what is their criteria? If her test popped, why were other tests not performed immediately? The hospital is notorious for calling CYS for pretty much everything. All means of discovery should be exausted BEFORE CYS is called.

    • Lisa

      *should be hear

  • keykey

    I know a mom who flunk the test. she tested positive for drugs and cys said oh we’ll give her another chance. meanwhile the mother is on probation for child neglet go figure that one out!

  • Ryan

    I’m glad she is suing, too many ghetto mamas keep there kids and leave them out on the street or let them live in firth and they keep their kids until something bad happens. This women loses her kid, the first 75 days of that baby’s life, she can never get that time back, no NOTHING.

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