Use of opiates during pregnancy can result in a drug withdrawal syndrome in newborns called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). A new study to determine the extent, context, and costs of NAS found that incidence of NAS is rising in the US. The proportion of babies born with NAS tripled from 2000 to 2009, when an estimated 13,539 infants were born with NAS —equivalent to one baby suffering from opiate withdrawal born every hour.
The number of delivering mothers using or dependent on opiates rose even more—nearly five-fold—from 2000 to 2009, to an estimated 23,009. In 2009, newborns with NAS stayed in the hospital an average of 16.4 days (compared to 3.3. days for other newborns), costing hospitals an estimated $720 million; the majority of these charges (77.6%) were paid by state Medicaid programs, reflecting the greater tendency of opiate-abusing mothers to be from lower-income communities. The rising frequency (and costs) of drug withdrawal in newborns points to the need for measures to reduce antenatal exposure to opiates.
The full text description can be accessed at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/maternal-opiate-use-newborns-suffering-opiate-withdrawal-are-rise-in-us
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse