“Nationwide, in 2012, nearly 22,000 babies were born into opioid withdrawal. That’s five times the number from the year 2000, according to a study by Vanderbilt University that was published in the Journal of Perinatology.
The study found the East South Central region of the United States, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, has the highest rates of newborns experiencing those withdrawal symptoms, or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). That region contains three of the top five pain pill prescribing states in the country which, the study found, supports the connection between increased opioid painkiller prescriptions and newborns born into opioid withdrawal. The region with the second highest rate of babies born with NAS is New England.
Many of those babies require weeks of hospital care. The same study found hospital charges associated with treatment of babies experience opioid withdrawal symptoms increased from $732 million to $1.5 billion. Eighty-one percent is attributed to state Medicaid programs.”
Source: CBSNews.com – September 9, 2015