Maternal Opioid Abuse and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the United States

Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Deja Woolcock, Christi Lee, Morelia Torres Diaz


In the past decade, the United States has experienced an increase in deaths related to nonmedical and medical opioid overdose. This is due to a number of factors including an increase in recreational opioid use, and the over prescription of opioids for various conditions such as during pregnancy, injury, and illness. The over utilization of opioids during pregnancy in the United States has led to an increase in adverse neonatal birth outcomes including poor fetal growth, preterm birth, stillbirth, neonatal abstinence syndrome in neonates, and an increase in maternal mortality among mothers. These are dire consequences that should not be ignored. This paper discusses opioid abuse during pregnancy and its effects on neonates in the United States. It also discusses some challenges associated with the diagnosis of neonatal abstinence syndrome and provides recommendations for addressing the issue Additionally, it discusses what mothers can do to prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Elizabeth Armstrong-Mensah, Deja Woolcock, Christi Lee, Morelia Torres Diaz

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