Health dept will give toxicology test results to prosecutors

Health dept will give toxicology test results to prosecutors

Montana’s health department will comply with a state law that requires it to share with prosecutors the results of drug toxicology tests done on children in abuse and neglect cases.

Prosecutors criticized the Department of Public Health and Human Services last week during a legislative interim committee meeting. Deputy Director Laura Smith said Friday the agency was seeking clarification from a federal agency on whether it could release the records without a court order.

Health Department spokesman Jon Ebelt said Wednesday that after further talks with the federal agency, the state concluded sharing toxicology reports with prosecutors would not violate federal confidentiality rules.

The Montana Legislature passed a law in 2017 requiring disclosure of case records in abuse and neglect cases if a child was suspected of having been exposed to illegal drugs.