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Legislation Would Require Reporting Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Indiana hospitals will have to report to the state cases of babies born addicted to drugs 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. But just trying to understand the scope of the problem has  been difficult, in part because hospitals aren’t required to report the condition.

Syracuse Republican  Representative Rebecca Kubacki 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," Kubacki says. "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.” 

Evansville Democratic Representative Gail Riecken, a cosponsor 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, "Riecken says, "to develop and administer a grant program to fund community-based efforts to reduce infant  mortality.” 

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