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Born Addicted: Addressing the Growing Number of Babies Born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Wikimedia Creative Commons

The number of babies born physically dependent on drugs is on the rise in Florida and around the nation.  The condition, called neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs in newborns who were exposed to addictive opiate drugs like heroin, methadone and oxycodone in utero.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of babies born with NAS increased five-fold from 2000 to 2012.  
According to the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration nearly 2,500 Florida newborns had NAS in 2015 compared to 1,903 the previous year and 1,336 five years before that.  Newborns suffer painful withdrawal symptoms and require costly extended hospital stays.  We’ll explore underlying causes for the increase in NAS, how Florida is addressing the problem including the creation of a statewide task force, and how Southwest Florida health officials are responding.


Willa Fuller, RN, Executive Director of the Florida Nurses Association and member of the Florida Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns

Washington Hill, M.D. Obstetrics and Gynecology/ Maternal-Fetal Medicine with the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County

William Liu, M.D., Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida

Prabhu Parimi, MD, Chief of the Division of Neonatology at All Children’s Hospital & director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute