BBAHC testing all expectant mothers for opioid use

Nov 20, 2014

Tests aim to provide appropriate care to the newborn, who may suffer severe symptoms of withdraw from heroin, oxycodone, after birth.

According to NIH: Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a pregnant woman takes addictive illicit or prescription drugs during the pregnancy. Drugs pass through the placenta and reach the baby. The baby becomes addicted along with the mother. At birth, the baby is still dependent on the drug. Because the baby is no longer getting the drug after birth, symptoms of withdrawal occur.
Credit A.D.A.M. / http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004566/figure/A007313.B19888/?report=objectonly#disclaimer

A few weeks ago, police were called to the Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham when a woman six months pregnant and a mother who had just given birth that day were caught smoking an oxycodone pill in the bathroom of the maternity room. The disturbing incident highlighted just how severe the use of opioids like heroin and oxycodone has become in Bristol Bay.

It also called attention to a problem known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. Now the hospital has made the testing for opioids routine for all pregnancies. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more.