“In hospitals across the country, the standard procedure for babies exposed to opioids can best be described as “wait and see.” Newborns are often kept in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), to see if they experience the extremely painful withdrawal symptoms related to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
Only if those withdrawal symptoms begin, the NICU will begin treating the newborn with methadone to ease the withdrawal. And all the while, the babies live apart from their mothers, sometimes for weeks.
Dr. Jennifer Hudson, medical director for newborn services at the Greenville Health System, sees the approach as unnecessarily painful for children and believes it places the future bond between mother and baby in jeopardy. So she developed an alternative protocol.
Under the Managing Abstinence in Newborns (MAiN) program, children at Greenville’s children’s hospital who are at high risk for withdrawal – generally those exposed to long-acting opioids like heroin, oxycodone, methadone or suboxone – are started immediately on methadone treatment. The newborn receives the treatment first in a hospital nursery, and then on an outpatient basis in the home.”
Source: ChronicleofSocialChange.org – June 26, 2018