The Opioid Epidemic’s Toll on Pregnant Women and Their Babies

The Opioid Epidemic’s Toll on Pregnant Women and Their Babies

The risk for overdose from opioid painkillers and heroin among women, including pregnant women, has skyrocketed, which means a growing number of babies are born dependent on opioids.

In a special report, PBS NewsHour Weekend Special correspondent Alison Stewart reported on the challenges for pregnant women struggling with addiction. The full interview is available online by clicking here.

Miss Stewart interviewed several women, healthcare providers, and a reknowned researcher on the opioid epidemic overtaking the USA and its toll on pregnant women and their babies

The risk for overdose from opioid painkillers and heroin among women, including pregnant women, has skyrocketed, which means a growing number of babies are born dependent on opioids.

In her report, Miss Stewart noted that each year between 2008 and 2012, on average, more than one-quarter of reproductive age women with private insurance — and more than one-third of those enrolled in Medicaid — filled a prescription for opioid painkillers.

In 2014, 4. 8 million women reported nonmedical or illicit use of prescription opioids.

And the number of pregnant women receiving treatment for opioid abuse more than doubled between 2000 and 2012.

Miss Stewart noted that infants exposed to an opioid taken by their mothers during pregnancy can be become dependent on the drug in utero, and be born going through withdrawal. The condition is called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or N-A-S.

To learn more about FASD, please click here.

Alison Stewart is co-anchor of PBS’s TV and web newsmagazine Need to Know. She has reported and anchored for ABC News, CBS News, NPR, NBC News, MSNBC and MTV News, where she won a Peabody for her work covering the Presidential Elections in 1992.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018
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