Sen. Becker’s Bill to Study Drug Abuse Among Pregnant Women Passes House



State Sen. Vaneta Becker’s (R-Evansville) bill to encourage better reporting of infant health problems caused by drug abuse during pregnancy unanimously passed the House of Representatives Monday by a 98-0 vote.


Drug-related health problems in newborns, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), can arise when mothers abuse drugs while pregnant. NAS can cause infants to experience drug dependency, seizures, slow weight gain and many other symptoms.


Senate Bill 408 would task the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) with facilitating study and collaboration among medical experts in order to determine best practices for identifying and reporting NAS cases.


“Drug abuse during pregnancy is a serious public health concern, and the trend is rising. Without accurate reporting and conversation about the terrible effects of NAS in newborns, we cannot hope to curb this behavior,” Becker said. “Monitoring NAS cases will give us better context for discussion, and help doctors treat and protect newborns.”


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.


Becker said the frequency of NAS cases appears to be growing in Indiana, too. During testimony in a House committee, Dr. Maria Del Rio Hoover of St. Mary’s Health System said physicians throughout the state are seeing an increase in NAS cases among their patients.


SB 408 now returns to the Senate with amendments.


  1. well, how much money do they want to earmark for this? Political cronies love passing tax dollars around to each other and this sounds like one of “those” studies.

    I’m looking for a federal grant myself, to study the effect of guns just lying around a cage full of monkeys. It’s every bit as legitimate as this cash cow.

    When they say “it’s for the kids” that’s a pretty sure bet that it’s really just a cash grab for bureaucrats.

    • Another study to determine what we have known for many years? Shocking! It is kind of like the meth awareness madness. We are aware! How about using the money to build rehab facilities in jails. Maybe use it for the care of the infant once the mom is forced to enter the facility. Nah too logical.

  2. From and earlier posted story on CCO…

    Riecken noted that of the 292 children in Indiana who died in 2011, substance abuse was found to be a factor in 43% of the cases. One study found that in cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, the infants are 19% more likely to have low birth rate and 30% more likely to have respiratory complications.

    I am easily confused but it looks as if the data for this is already being compiled. Just an interesting side note as well, it also seems ironic that Mrs. Rieken appears very concerned with the 292 children that died, but not quite as concerned with the 9430 abortions that occurred in IN during 2011.

    It would also be nice if the amounts being secured for these studies would be printed as well so taxpayers could see just how much of our funds are being used in studies that for most of us are common sense and difficult to justify.

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