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Presented By: NIHCM

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome - Strategies for States and Health Plans

Time & Location

09:30 AM - 11:00 AM ET

Event Materials

With the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and related increase in heroin dependence, the health system is facing an alarming rise in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS afflicts newborns exposed to drugs, most commonly opioids, while in utero. These infants may experience withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, weight loss, hypersensitivity to light and sound, seizures, and potential long-term developmental effects. Between 2000 and 2009 NAS incidence tripled, stirring the public and private health sectors to find better ways to identify and treat pregnant women struggling with addiction.

This webinar highlighted strategies for preventing and treating neonatal abstinence syndrome. Speakers discussed the following:

  • Recent trends in opioid abuse and NAS, with an overview of federally-led prevention efforts
  • The impact of rising NAS rates across the states, including the implications for Medicaid, and examples of state-level action
  • A health plan-led initiative to improve care coordination and social support for pregnant women in treatment for addiction
  • The latest in NAS treatment, and an assessment of where public and private investments would be most beneficial


Federal Efforts to Mitigate Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the U.S.

Cecilia Spitznas

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Partnering with Expectant Mothers to Prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Scott Pierce

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

What Works in NAS Treatment?

Mark Hudak

University of Florida College of Medicine

How States Can Advance the Knowledge Base for Prevention and Best Practices of Care

Leslie Erdelack

Injury Prevention Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Additional Resources
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Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Broussard CS, Rasmussen SA, Reefhuis J, Friedman JM, Jann MW, Rishle-Colarusso T, Honein MA. Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics and risk for birth defects.American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology , 2011;204:314.e1-11

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Creanga AA, Sabel JC, Ko JY, Wasserman CR, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Taylor P, Barfield W, Cawthon L, Paulozzi LJ.Maternal drug use and its effects on neonates: a population-based study in Washington State. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2012;119(5):924-33.

Desai RJ, Hernandez-Diaz S, Bateman BT, Huybrechts KF. Increase in Prescription Opioid Use During Pregnancy Among Medicaid-Enrolled Women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2014

Green River Pictures. The Opiate Effect. William Henry Philbrick Gates Fund.

Hudak ML, Tan RC. Neonatal drug withdrawal. Pediatrics, 2012;129(2):e540-60.

Jones HE, Deppen K, Hudak ML, Leffert L, McClelland C, Sahin C, Starer J, Terplan M, Thorp JM, Walsh J, Creanga A. Clinical care for opioid-using pregnant and postpartum women: the role of obstetric providers. American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology, 2014;210(4):302-310.

Kasehagan L, Schlife M, Rough A. Local Perspectives and Recommendations on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation Women, Children, and Adolescent Health Update, 2012.

O’Brien ML, Phillips SM. Substance Exposed Newborns: Addressing Social Costs Across the Lifespan. The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum. 2011.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Patrick SW, Schumacher RE, Benneyworth BD, Krans EE, McAllister JM, Davis MM. Neonatal abstinence syndrome and associated health care expenditures: United States 2000-2009. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2012;307(18):1934-40.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

United States Department of Justice. Attorney General Holder, Calling Rise in Heroin Overdoses ‘Urgent Public Health Crisis,’ Vows Mix of Enforcement, Treatment . March 10, 2014.


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