Alexander: Senate Passes Bill To Address Tennessee's Tenfold Increase in Infants Born Addicted to Drugs

Urges House lawmakers to pass bill to help improve the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders among pregnant women and care for newborns exposed during pregnancy

Posted on October 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 22 – Citing a tenfold increase in Tennessee of infants suffering health problems from drugs like painkillers and heroin, the chairman of the Senate health committee today urged House lawmakers to act quickly to pass legislation approved by the Senate that 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 ten-fold increase in Tennessee infants born with health problems resulting from exposure to opioids during pregnancy,” said Alexander. “I urge the House to act quickly to pass this legislation that will help ensure that federal programs are more effective in helping pregnant women struggling with drug abuse and increase their chances of having healthy children.”

The legislation 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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