The Pennsylvania Senate recently approved legislation that would mandate the reporting of infants born with opioid addiction.
The bill would require a report to the state Department of Health that would be used to determine whether the opioid crisis is worsening, where resources are needed and what kind of resources are needed.
“My bill would ensure the coordination of reporting through the Department of Health, which would track that information and break it down by county,” Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh/Northampton) said. “We need to be sure to use the reporting to be more aggressive in combatting the opioid epidemic where it is. This bill would help us understand the communities most impacted by the epidemic.”
Addicted babies have a greater risk of premature birth, low birth weight, growth problems, seizures and tremors, and sleep issues, she said.
Nearly one in five pregnant women fill an opioid medication prescription during pregnancy, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, and a child is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) every 25 minutes.
Between 1999 and 2013, NAS spiked by 300 percent, according to a study of 28 states.
States that have implemented a reporting mandate have had a drop in NAS, Boscola said.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.