Rates of pregnant women, babies with opioid disorder increasing

Between 2010 and 2017, the rates of pregnant women diagnosed with opioid use disorder spiked 131 percent, and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) grew 82 percent, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study.

Although some states had rates as high as one in 20 deliveries affected by opioids, the increases were seen nationwide. Twenty-five states doubled their rates between 2010 and 2017 while rates plateaued in New England.

“We found that rural, white, and Medicaid populations continue to have the highest rates of maternal opioid-related diagnoses and neonatal abstinence syndrome,” Dr. Jean Ko, Maternal Health and Chronic Disease Team lead in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health said. “However, large variation by state highlight the importance of state-level strategies and initiatives to address the opioid crisis for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants.”

HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration, the CDC, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality conducted the study.

Researchers examined 11.8 million hospital records for trends in maternal opioid diagnoses and NAS. The records were from community, non-rehabilitation hospitals in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Melina Druga

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