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Bill Requires Doctors To Report Babies Addicted To Drugs

Newborn. Mawannalla hospital Pre-natala and post natal care units. Sri Lanka

Photo: World Bank Photo Contest

Newborn who are showing symptoms of being addicted to drugs would need to be reported to the state under a bill lawmakers passed Monday.

Indiana hospitals will have to report cases of babies born addicted to drugs to the state under legislation unanimously approved by the House Monday.

The condition is known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – newborns exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs before they’re born.

Simply trying to understand the scope of the problem has been difficult, in part because hospitals aren’t required to report the condition.

Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, says that’s why legislation she’s sponsoring will direct various stakeholders, including the state Department of Health, the Indiana Hospitals Association, and the Indiana Medical Association, to study various issues surrounding neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“We are trying to find a way…how we can help them when they’re going through this process by determining how we get the information from the mom, what she’s on and what we can give these babies to help them through a very, very difficult time,” Kubacki said.

Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville,  a co-sponsor of the bill, says the legislation will go further than just studying the issue.

“It requires the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana and the state Department of Health to develop and administer a grant program to fund community-based efforts to reduce infant mortality,” Riecken said.

The bill now heads to conference committee for the two chambers to work out their differences.

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