09.30.15

Alexander: Senate Advances Bill That Would Address Tennessee's Tenfold Increase in Infants Born Addicted to Drugs

Senate health committee passes bill to help improve the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders among pregnant women and care for newborns exposed during pregnancy

This bill will help ensure that federal programs are more effective in helping pregnant women struggling with opioid use disorders, so that they get the help they need and have healthy babies.” – Lamar Alexander

 

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30 – Citing a tenfold increase in Tennessee of infants born addicted to, or suffering health problems from, drugs like painkillers and heroin, the chairman of the Senate health committee today urged full Senate passage of legislation he says would "help pregnant women struggling with opioid use disorders so they get the help they need."

“In the past decade, Tennessee has seen a nearly tenfold rise in the incidence of Tennessee babies being born addicted to drugs such as prescription painkillers and heroin,” said Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “This bill will help ensure that federal programs are more effective in helping pregnant women struggling with opioid use disorders, so that they get the help they need and have healthy babies. I urge the Senate to pass it immediately.”

The legislation, which passed out of committee by voice vote, requires the Department of Health and Human Services to address gaps and duplication in research and programs for pregnant women with opioid use disorders and their infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a health condition that arises when newborns exposed to addictive opioid drugs while in the mother’s womb withdraw from the drug after being born.

The Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and is supported by March of Dimes, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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