In response to the problem, areas hardest hit by the heroin epidemic are taking extreme caution with all newborn babies. In Ohio, a state which has been witness to the growing rates of NAS first hand, a collective of Cincinnati hospitals announced its plans to test all mothers or their babies for the presence of opioid narcotics, Reuters reports. Over the last ten years, a recent study found that the number of babies treated for NAS has almost quadrupled.
The group of Cincinnati hospitals hopes that testing will help doctors identify babies with the potential for developing the symptoms of NAS. “The key thing we wanted to do is identify these infants early on,” said Dr. Scott Wexelblatt of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Babies born with opioids in their system, such as illegal heroin or legal oxycodone, often experience the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Symptoms of NAS can include:
- Extreme Irritability
- Poor Feeding
- Diarrhea for 48 to 96 Hours