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STEVE STIVERS

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Stivers’ NAS Legislation Signed Into Law

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Washington, November 30, 2015 | comments
WASHINGTON D.C. - As policy makers at all levels of government continue to battle the opiates epidemic, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH15) was pleased President Obama recently signed The Protecting our Infants Act of 2015 (S. 799) into law. The Senate bill was companion legislation of H.R. 1462 introduced by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D –MA) and Congressman Stivers. The Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 ensures a coordinated federal response to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
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WASHINGTON D.C. - As policy makers at all levels of government continue to battle the opiates epidemic, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH15) was pleased President Obama recently signed The Protecting our Infants Act of 2015 (S. 799) into law. The Senate bill was companion legislation of H.R. 1462 introduced by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D –MA) and Congressman Stivers.  The Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 ensures a coordinated federal response to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

“Each year, thousands of babies are born addicted to drugs. It is yet another tragic symptom of the opiates abuse crisis in Ohio and around the country,” Congressman Stivers said. “This new law makes a strong bipartisan statement about our commitment to protecting these children while we work to support families struggling with addiction.”

NAS is a collection of symptoms that infants can experience as a result of prenatal exposure to drugs such as heroin, methadone, and prescription painkillers. Upon being born, this exposure to the drug ends and the babies begin to suffer from withdrawal.

The Protecting Our Infants Act would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a best practices handbook for dealing with NAS and designate an agency to collect NAS data. This will assist health care providers around the country in the diagnosis and treatment of newborns suffering from opiate dependency.

Recent data shows that a record number of babies in the United States are born addicted to drugs. There are tremendous expenses that come with treating drug-related illnesses.  In 2011, Ohio alone spent more than $70 million in treatment of these conditions, including nearly 19,000 days in the hospital, with 1,649 patient admissions—which totals almost five daily.  A report by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the number of newborns diagnosed with NAS tripled between 2000 and 2009. Ohio experienced a more than 600 percent increase in NAS rates between 2004 and 2011.

The March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are backing this bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation.

In the Senate, the bill was carried by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).

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