The opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, impacting communities, and changing the face of our nation. In the United States, roughly one baby every 15 minutes, or more than 30,000 babies a year, are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
What Is NAS?
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is characterized by:
Previously, doctors did not look for this condition and the number of cases has increased four-fold over the last decade. This disturbing trend is costing Medicaid billions of dollars in hospital care for newborns fighting through withdrawal.
Doctors and nurses seeing more of these cases are now diagnosing the condition and wean the newborns safely.
A large number of lawsuits filed against drug companies directly relate to these babies. With this rising trend, there is growing concern that the children impacted will be left out of the negotiation of financial settlements.
For example, when looking at cases between pharmaceutical companies and the state of Oklahoma, pending settlements and settlement deals make little or no mention of children at all.
What Is Being Done?
Sadly, postpartum recovery is a vulnerable time for women, and most instances lead to doctors prescribing opiates such as Percocet, hydrocodone, or oxycodone. Medicating new mothers is a dangerous practice, as it can lead to drug abuse and addiction that may carry into another pregnancy, creating a higher risk for NAS to develop.
Since there is not much known about the long-term effects of NAS, there is ample concern over the future of these children.
Many of these children are entering the education system, leaving schools and preschools are at the forefront of this issue now. Developmental delays and behavioral problems are common among this population, and consequently, those directly involved with educating these children experience these problems and dealing with them first-hand.
Where to Go From Here
Supporting teachers, enacting change in schools, and supporting students as they develop and learn is imperative to addressing NAS and its lasting effects. Mothers that are struggling with recovery encounter problems with health insurance and resources to support their families. It is essential to enact policies and create resources to support the mothers and children most affected by the opioid crisis.
Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alma Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse inpatient center.
Alma Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness and our facility is here to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.