Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a group of symptoms that can occur in newborns exposed to certain substances, including opioids, during pregnancy.
According to 2017 data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, for every 1,000 newborn hospital stays, seven newborns were diagnosed with NAS. That is approximately one baby diagnosed with NAS every 19 minutes in the United States, or nearly 80 newborns diagnosed every day. The number of babies born with NAS increased by 82 percent nationally from 2010 to 2017. Increases were seen in the majority of states and demographic groups.
Texas’ NAS Medicaid birth rates have increased every year since 2013. In addition, the Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force found drug overdose (typically opioids) to be the leading cause of maternal mortality for women between 60 days and one year postpartum.
Things to Remember
- Pregnant women in Texas who seek, or are referred for, and would benefit from substance use services are within the federal required priority admissions to treatment facilities receiving state funds (eCFR, Title 45: Public Welfare, Part 96, 96.131)
- The treatment for pregnant women with opioid use disorder usually includes medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, rather than withdrawal management. This is because pregnant women with opioid use who suddenly stop are at increased risk for relapse, overdose, and fetal death. Pregnant women with opioid use disorder should seek care immediately.
June is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month in Texas
In recognition of June as NAS Awareness Month, HHS continues to:
- Increase awareness about NAS to pregnant women regarding the dangers of using opioids during pregnancy.
- Inform others about the availability of resources for mothers-to-be and new mothers with a substance use disorder
- Provide a list of recommended materials to address NAS:
- “Healthy Pregnancy Healthy Baby” fact sheets.
- “Medications to Treat Opioid Use During Pregnancy” fact sheet.
- “Are You Taking Medicine for Opioid Use Disorder and Are Pregnant or Thinking about Having a Baby?” fact sheet.
- “Texas Child Protection Law Bench” book.
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare publications.
How do I get NAS Services?
There are several ways to find NAS Services. Contact the substance use treatment program directly, your local Outreach, Screening, Assessment, Referral (OSAR) Service, or your Local Mental or Local Behavioral Health Authority.
- Find State Funded NAS Programs in Texas
- Find your local OSAR provider
- Find your Local Mental Health Authority or Local Behavioral Health Authority
If you need support, contact the Pregnant, Postpartum Intervention program in your area.
Pregnant, Postpartum Intervention helps parents reduce the effects of symptoms of substance use by providing case management, home visits and education. Case management services include talking with parents about their needs and the needs of their children, referrals to community services that can help the parents and their children, and helping parents get needed education, services, and supplies.
- Behavioral Health Treatment for Mothers
Pregnant women who need treatment for substance use, regardless of ability to pay, can receive immediate help in Texas.
- Journeys of Hope: Mommies and Babies Overcoming NAS
This video features the story of three mothers who describe their experience recovering from opioid use disorders during pregnancy. Professionals from the child welfare, substance use treatment and the medical fields discuss how providing care without judgment results in better outcomes for the mother and infant.
- Stronger Together: NAS Soothing Techniques for Mommies and Babies
This video showcases professionals and mothers demonstrating techniques to help soothe withdrawal symptoms and the important role birth mothers play in their child’s recovery.
The Mommies Toolkit
- Improving Outcomes for Families Impacted by Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (PDF)
- Mommies Toolkit Online Modules