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.

– Rita Price
The Columbus Dispatch

Follow Prescription Advisory

In 2012, both New York and Tennessee required prescribers to check their state’s PDMP before prescribing painkillers.

The results one year later:
New York realized a 75% drop and Tennessee a 36% drop in patients who were seeing multiple prescribers to obtain the same drugs.

PDMP [National] Center of Excellence at Brandeis U, 2014

When a clinician is prescribing a controlled substance, readily available information about the drugs that a patient is receiving from other providers can be a critically important component of the decision-making process…Increasingly, these [PDMP] programs have evolved into a useful tool for the clinician who must incorporate careful risk management into the prescribing of opioid analgesics or any other controlled substance.

Increasingly, these programs have evolved into a useful tool for the clinician who must incorporate careful risk management into the prescribing of opioid analgesics or any other controlled substance Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Serve a Vital Clinical Need.

Editorial  Pain Medicine, The American Academy of Pain Medicine; 2011;12:845
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