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Indiana Grant Supports Neonatal Opioid Program In The State

State and health leaders met at an Indianapolis hospital Monday to announce a new project to help pregnant Hoosier mothers who are addicted to opioids, the effort expands a pilot to reduce neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS.

NAS happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb.  Providers at Community East Hospital addressed this issue in response to the rise in cases that they were seeing says OBGYN Anthony Sanders. 

"We developed a comprehensive program that includes medication assisted therapy, psychotherapy, intensive outpatient therapy, resource coordination, specialty consultation and family support," says Sanders. 

The state is awarding the Community Health Neonatal Opioid Addiction Project more than $570,000, part of 2017 legislation to address this issue.

Community Health Network President Bryan Mills says there is a great need to attack this part of the opioid epidemic. 

"At last count we have 67 pregnant patients at Community East signed up for medication assisted treatment," says Mills. 

The current program has recorded successes.  The number of mothers testing negative for drugs at birth has increased and the number of days babies born dependent on drugs spend at the hospital has dropped from 26 to 19. 

"I know 19 days is too long, there is no doubt about that, but these are trends in the right way," says Mills. 

The project will build on the program with a goal of expansion to other facilities.  Other goals include screening all mothers, improving data and specialized newborn care.