U.S. Agency Pushes Reforms to Protect Drug-Dependent Babies
March 15, 2016
(Reuters) – The Reuters investigation identified 110 examples of children who were exposed to opoids while in the womb and later died after leaving the hospital. No more than nine states comply with a 2003 law that calls on hospitals to alert social workers whenever such a baby is born and to help mother and child develop a “safe care” plan, the news agency found. Since the law was enacted, the number of newborns diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome has skyrocketed, to 27,315 cases in 2013 from 4,991 in 2003, federal data shows. Thousands were sent home each year without a referral to social service agencies, the Reuters analysis found.