The shortage of drug treatment for pregnant women can endanger fetuses, experts tell USA Today. Fewer than 2,000 of the 11,000 treatment facilities listed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration include services for pregnant women.
“In many communities, women are left with very few options,” said Stephen Patrick of Vanderbilt University, who published a recent study on neonatal abstinence syndrome, which affects babies born to mothers dependent on opioids. Patrick found the overall incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome nearly doubled in four years nationally, with one affected baby born every 25 minutes by 2012. His study found 28 percent of pregnant Medicaid recipients in Tennessee had filled at least one opioid prescription.