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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

NAS Impacts Rural America

Opioid abuse is affecting the lives of millions of Americans, and in many cases those people reside in rural America. One of the reasons rural Americans have arguably been impacted the most is the fact that addiction treatment services are limited in these parts of the country. Without access to help, people will continue to toil in their addiction indefinitely—potentially overdosing before they ever find help.

The lack of treatment centers in rural America means that some people who need help the most will go without. Some of those people have more than just their own health to worry about, particularly pregnant women. If you know anything about opioid addiction, it is likely that you are aware that addicts who run out of drugs are susceptible to withdrawal symptoms. The same holds true for babies exposed to opioids in utero, who are severed from the drugs the moment the umbilical cord is cut.

Babies whose mothers used opioids throughout the pregnancy are often born with a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). There is a long list of symptoms that accompany the syndrome, the most serious of which include:
  • Tremors
  • Irritability (excessive crying)
  • Sleep problems
  • Seizures
Without close supervision, NAS can be deadly. It is vital that everything is done to provide treatment and recovery services to pregnant women with opioid use disorder. The problem is staggering in rural America, new research shows that the rate of NAS increased from 1.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2004 to 7.5 cases per 1,000 births by 2013, Reuters reports. The study, published in JAMA, showed that cases of NAS in rural counties increased from 13 percent to 21 percent over the course of the research period.

“Prior to our study, we had limited data from a few states like West Virginia and Tennessee that showed rising rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome in some rural counties,” Villapiano said by email. “What we didn’t know was how the opioid crisis has affected rural moms and their infants across the country.”

If you are expecting a child and are addicted to opioids, please contact Whiteside Manor. Our female women’s drug rehab program appreciates that females with substance abuse disorders have unique rehabilitation needs and circumstances, including safety, security and pregnancy.

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