1000% Increase In Number of Pennsylvania Babies Born Addicted to Opioids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:


Joe Martin
Executive Director
PA Health Care Cost Containment Council
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA 17101

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Several years ago, our agency noted that while mortality data for opioid addition was being reported, it did not include hospitalizations where death did not occur.  We believed our agency could make a valuable contribution to the data by beginning to report that.  We began with adults hospitalized in PA for opioid addiction, and supplemented that over time with reporting about maternity cases and newborns. Today’s report covers babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

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Nearly All Babies Born With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Were Exposed To Opioids

Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH
Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities,

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Lind: CDC and Florida investigators published a new report describing the characteristics of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and their mothers.  NAS is a group of signs exhibited by newborns exposed to addictive drugs taken by a mother during pregnancy. Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome have prolonged hospital stays, experience serious medical complications, and are very costly to treat.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Lind: In this investigation, 242 infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome were identified in three Florida hospitals during a 2-year period (2010–2011). Nearly all of the infants with NAS were exposed to opioid painkillers during pregnancy (99.6%) and experienced serious medical complications, with more than 97% being admitted to an intensive care unit, where the average length of stay was 26 days. Despite a high prevalence of positive urine toxicology tests during the birth hospitalization, only a small proportion of mothers had documentation of referrals for drug counseling or rehabilitation.

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