Congress Unanimously Passes “Protecting Our Infants Act”

by Amanda Conschafter, blog editor

After passing the U.S. Senate and House unanimously, a bill that could help newborns exposed to opioids in their mothers’ wombs now awaits the president’s signature. Introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the “Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015” is a first of its kind bill designed to address the impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome.

[WATCH: Rep. Clark addresses the 2015 Preemie Matters National Policy Summit]

“Newborns in intensive care units across the country remind us that our nation’s opioid epidemic knows no bounds,” Rep. Clark explained in a press release. Babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome experience seizures, tremors, fevers and difficulty feeding.

Under the legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will develop recommendations for preventing and treating prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome. HHS will also determine how to best close the gaps in programming and research on treatment for women with opioid abuse disorders and infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The Journal of Perinatology reported that infants suffering from the condition grew “substantially” between 2010 and 2012, with an infant born every 25 minutes suffering from opioid dependency. No standard diagnosis or treatment yet exists.


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