Babies Exposed to Opioids Need Extra Support for Stress and Pain Management


According to a 2014 analysis of Medicaid data published in Pediatrics in 2018, every 15 minutes a baby is born in the US with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). This results in about 32,000 infants annually with hospital expenses over $500 million. NAS is a group of medical conditions that babies experience when they withdraw from drugs they were exposed to in utero. Opioids are a primary cause of NAS.

A May 2019 article in US News & World Report highlighted research out of the Penn State College of Medicine on what these babies go through after birth. The study examined the reactions of 37 newborns (22 with prenatal opioid exposure and 15 without) to a routine heel-stick blood test.

The researchers observed that the babies with prenatal exposure to opioids had a higher reaction to the pain and stress and that the reaction lasted longer than in the infants with no exposure to opioids. The study authors identified the value of comfort measures to support these babies – breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact and rooming in with mothers, fathers, and caregivers, and music therapy.

Preventing NAS through education of pregnant women on drug use and pregnancy is essential, yet this new research shows the need to ensure that care and support for these at-risk infants is in place. CSIP offers a variety of opioid awareness and addiction resources to aid families.


About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)

The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health.  CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.