Sen. Becker’s Bill Aimed at Reducing Drug Abuse among Pregnant Women Clears Senate



Becker_2012_tnSTATEHOUSE (Feb. 4, 2014) — State Sen. Vaneta Becker’s (R-Evansville) bill requiring hospitals to diagnose and report neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) unanimously passed the Senate today by a 47-0 vote.


NAS occurs in newborns when the mother abused illegal or prescription drugs during pregnancy. It can cause newborns to experience drug dependency, seizures, slow weight gain and many other symptoms.


Senate Bill 408 would task Indiana hospitals with reporting NAS cases to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) so that research on prevention and treatments can be conducted.


According to the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, the overall rate of newborns being diagnosed with NAS has tripled over the past decade. In 2009, approximately one infant born per hour in the United States had signs of drug withdrawal.


“There is concern that drug abuse among pregnant women is rising and causing irreparable harm to newborns,” Becker said. “Today’s bill starts the conversation about how to prevent and treat this unfortunate condition, and makes sure our medical professionals are prepared to help keep both mothers and infants safe.”


SB 408 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.