Higher rates of NAS linked with economic conditions

A NIDA-funded analysis of eight states showed a significant association between rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and poor economic conditions. NAS is a series of uncomfortable symptoms experienced by newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal after their mothers used opioids during their pregnancies.

The study used data from all 580 counties in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state from 2009-2015. Investigators cross checked economic data with NAS cases from both rural and metropolitan areas. Economic data included 10-year unemployment rates, and health data included counties designated as mental health clinician shortage areas.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Newborn opioid withdrawal requires a ‘cascade of care,’ study suggests

Effective management of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) — withdrawal symptoms occurring in infants exposed to opioids in utero — requires a coordinated “cascade of care” from prevention through long-term follow-up, reports a study in Advances in Neonatal Care, official journal of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Based on interviews with frontline providers caring for infants affected by NAS, the researchers identify four essential areas to improve care for this increasingly common complication of opioid use. “Greater resources, coordination, and cross-disciplinary education are urgently needed across the cascade of care to effectively address NAS,” write Jennifer L. Syvertsen, PhD, MPH, of the University of California, Riverside and colleagues at the University of Southern California.

Critical Areas to Improve Care for Infants Exposed to Opioids

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) can result from legally prescribed opioid medications, misuse of prescription opioids, illicit drugs such as heroin, or medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid use disorders, including Suboxone or methadone. Infants exposed to any of these forms of opioids during gestation are at risk of NAS, developing signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal after birth. Timely and effective care can lower the impact and costs of NAS. However, standardized care and treatment resources are often lacking, both for women and their infants affected by NAS.

Full story at Science Daily

The cost of opioid use during pregnancy

A new study published today by the scientific journal Addiction reveals that the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome — often caused by mothers using opioids during pregnancy — is increasing in the United States, and carries an enormous burden in terms of hospital days and costs. The number of US hospital admissions involving neonatal abstinence syndrome increased more than fourfold between the years 2003 and 2012. In 2012, neonatal abstinence syndrome cost nearly $316 million in the United States.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a constellation of symptoms that occur in newborn infants exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs in utero. Infants affected by NAS typically show a number of neurological symptoms and behaviors (e.g., tremors, seizures) as well as poor feeding and gastrointestinal dysfunction. Standard management of NAS involves the administration of opioids for opioid withdrawal, with additional medications for stubborn cases or instances of multi-drug exposure. This drug administration has been performed traditionally in the hospital setting, consuming valuable and finite hospital resources.

Full story of opioid use during pregnancy at Science Daily

Senators Draft Law Aimed at Helping Parents Addicted to Opioids Raise Their Infants

Two senators on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday they are drafting legislation that would let states use federal foster care funds to help parents who are addicted to opioids raise their babies, Reuters reports.

Committee Chair Orrin Hatch of Utah, a Republican, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, said the measure, called the Family First Act, would be part of a comprehensive effort to address the opioid crisis by increasing prevention, treatment and law enforcement.

Senator Wyden cited a recent Reuters investigation of 110 preventable deaths of babies sent home with parents who were addicted to opioids.

The number of babies treated for the drug-withdrawal syndrome known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has almost quadrupled in the last decade, according to a study published last year.

Full story of law to help parents and addiction to opioids at drugfree.org

Inquiry Looks at Compliance With Federal Law Protecting Drug-Dependent Newborns

A U.S. House committee is launching an inquiry into the federal government’s enforcement of a law designed to protect drug-dependent newborns.

The inquiry, launched by Representative John Kline of Minnesota, is in response to aReuters investigation that found 110 cases of babies and toddlers whose mothers used opioids during pregnancy, and later died preventable deaths.

In each case, the babies recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital, but were sent home to families not equipped to care for them.

The number of babies treated for the drug-withdrawal syndrome known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has almost quadrupled in the last decade, according to a last year.

Full story of inquiry into drug-dependent newborns at drugfree.org