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Study: Opioid-Related Problems in Babies Spike in Rural Areas

Study: Opioid-Related Problems in Babies Spike in Rural Areas

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

By    |   Monday, 12 December 2016 07:32 PM

The number of babies going through opiate withdrawal in rural areas has risen at an alarming rate, a new study reveals.

The proportion of infants diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural areas spiked from 12.9 percent in 2003-2004 to 21.2 percent in 2012-2013, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Monday.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome happens when a mother uses opiate drugs like heroin, codeine, oxycodone, methadone or buprenorphine during pregnancy.

Babies get the substance through the placenta, and they become dependent on the drug at birth if the mother uses drugs within the week or so before delivery.

That's a stark difference from the instances in urban areas and calls for action, say the study's authors.

"This geographic disparity highlights the urgent need for policymakers to appropriate funding for clinicians and programs that could improve access to opioid prevention and treatment services for rural women and children," writes Drs. Nicole L.G. Villapiano, Tyler N.A. Winkelman, and Katy B. Kozhimannil.

"Potential targets include increasing access to rural primary care buprenorphine distribution and programs supporting rural and critical access hospital treatment of women and infants affected by opioid use."

Opiate use in the United States has taken over tobacco use, according to a September survey released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reflecting the realization that opiate addiction is a prevalent problem.

Just three weeks ago, Virginia's health commissioner declared a public health emergency for the opioid crisis there.

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The number of babies going through opiate withdrawal in rural areas has risen at an alarming rate, a new study reveals.
newborn, babies, drugs, opiate, addiction, born
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2016-32-12
Monday, 12 December 2016 07:32 PM
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