The number of Ohio babies who come into the world sick and craving drugs continues to soar.

 New state reports show that the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome — the medical term for withdrawal symptoms suffered by newborns — jumped to 159 per 10,000 live births in 2015.

That’s more than eight times the rate a decade earlier, in 2005, when there were just 19 such hospitalizations for every 10,000 live births.

“Given the way that the other numbers in the state are going, unfortunately, they were what I expected. I expected the NAS rate to go up,” said Rick Massatti of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Ohio is awash in drug abuse and addiction, at times leading the nation in deaths from heroin and synthetic-opioid overdoses. And women who become pregnant while using drugs can double the harm if they don’t get help quickly.

But awareness and availability of treatment continue to lag.

“As a community, we are failing these moms by not having adequate treatment slots,” said Dr. Barry Halpern, an OhioHealth neonatologist who has helped lead local efforts to care for pregnant drug users and their infants.

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The abuse of opioid pain medication has a devastating impact on public health and safety in this country, killing 46 people every day… Prescription Drug poisoning deaths – now over 30,000/yr – outnumber deaths from motor vehicle crashes.

National Center for Health Statistics/CDC

Although relieving pain and reducing suffering are primary emergency physician responsibilities, there is a concurrent duty to limit the personal and societal harm that can result from prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Pain Management / Clinical PolicyACEP Annals of Emergency Medicine 525, October 2012
David Stengle

David Stengle

Chief Marketing Officer at Prescription Advisory
David is Prescription Advisory's Chief Marketing Officer. Software startups are his passion.

He also serves as the Director of Startup Grind Princeton and a mentor for the Princeton University eLab.
David Stengle
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