As a Memphis NAS attorney, I know that America’s opioid crisis is far from over. The epidemic continues to claim far too many lives each day. Children are among the most vulnerable in this public health crisis. Babies whose mothers used opioids while pregnant can become addicted in the womb and endure painful withdrawal during their very first days through Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which can lead to devastating, lifelong medical complications.
This is a crisis that hits very close to home, with thousands of NAS cases right here in Tennessee. They are among the most painful cases I’ve seen throughout my career as a Memphis NAS attorney. A new study from researchers at the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing and the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health found that opioid use among pregnant women is on the rise and NAS is a public health epidemic.
According to the study, newborns hospitalized for NAS saw a five-fold increase from 2004–2014. In 2015, NAS rates in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama were nearly 3 times the national average, which is 5.8 per 1,000 live births. The study found that in some northeastern counties in Tennessee, the NAS rates were as high as 60 per 1,000.
NAS is an important public health epidemic that needs more awareness. Read the facts below to learn more, and if you believe that you or someone you know were exposed to opioids during pregnancy or breastfeeding, reach out for a free consultation with a Memphis NAS attorney.
1. Many of the drugs involved in NAS cases are prescribed legally.
Opioids are a powerful class of drugs. Aside from heroin, many of them are prescribed legally. They are intended to manage both short-term and chronic pain. They are highly addictive and can lead to long-term dependence and abuse. Children of mothers who take them while pregnant or breastfeeding can become addicted, too.
2. Big pharmaceutical companies misrepresented opioids in their marketing.
The seeds of the opioid crisis were planted two decades ago, when big pharmaceutical companies downplayed the side effects and potential for addiction in their products. Doctors and patients alike were not aware of the dangers, and prescriptions skyrocketed.
3. NAS has long-term effects and can hold children back in the classroom.
Medical experts have already known that NAS affects a child in the long term. A new study found that a mother’s opioid use during pregnancy can stunt a child’s learning. According to the study, about 1 in 7 children with NAS required special classroom services for learning disabilities. 1 in 10 children not exposed to opioids required those same services.
Call for a free consultation with a Memphis NAS attorney.
If you believe your adopted child was exposed to opioids during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or that you suffered from NAS as in infant, we want to speak with you. We will fight for your rights and make every effort to get you the care and compensation you deserve with the help of an experienced Memphis NAS attorney.