Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A new generation of children with lives forever changed by opioids

Opioid Crisis
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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is defined by the March of Dimes as a group of conditions caused when a baby withdraws from certain drugs he or she is exposed to in the womb.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 15 minutes.

Signs of NAS can be different for every baby. Most happen within 3 days (72 hours) of birth, but some may happen right after birth or not until a few weeks after birth. They can last from 1 week to 6 months after birth.

The March of Dimes website says NAS can cause low birth weight, jaundice, seizures and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  But all that information is in the early days and weeks of the baby’s life.

Early studies show long-term problems for the children could include developmental delays, motor, behavior and learning problems.

WHNT News 19’s Kelley Smith spoke with a Madison County couple raising their grandchildren who were born addicted to opioids. Join us Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. as that family shares their experience. We’ll also speak with doctors and school officials who are aware of the growing percentage of NAS survivors who are just learning the long-term impacts the drugs may have on their lives.


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