Attorney General Asks For Neonatal Narcotics Care Review
September 10, 2013 — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is calling on the legislature to help reduce the number of babies being exposed to narcotics while still in the womb. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports:
It’s called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS – newborns exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs before they’re born. Attorney General Greg Zoeller says treating NAS at Indiana hospitals cost an estimated 30 million dollars in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available…and he says that’s with limited tracking because hospitals are not required to report the condition. Zoeller says one solution is requiring pregnant women take drug tests to identify the problem and start treatment before birth:
“You can reduce the length of stay for the newly born baby from six weeks to two weeks, the better health of the baby as well as the costs.”
Indianapolis Republican Senator Pat Miller says the legislature is exploring different options because of concerns about mandatory drug tests:
“Verbal screening as opposed to the kind of blood or urine analysis that might drive women away from getting prenatal care.”
Miller says a definitive answer hasn’t been reached and a legislative panel will continue to investigate the issue leading up to next session. For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Brandon Smith.