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

Attention to patterns of prescription requests and the prescribing of opioids as part of an ongoing relationship between a patient and a healthcare provider can decrease the risk of diversion. Periodic review of state PDMP, where available, is also a useful tool to monitor compliance. Evaluation should initially include…a drug history… Documentation is essential.

February 2013 American Academy of Pain Medicine

What prescribers can do to safely and effectively use opioids for CNCP (includes the following)

  • Screen for prior or current substance abuse/misuse
  • Do not use concomitant sedative–hypnotics or benzodiazepines
  • Track daily MED using an online dosing calculator
  • Use the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to monitor all sources of controlled substances

Neurology, 2014; 83; 1277-1284, September 2014

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.

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