Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

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:

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.

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.


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