Lawmaker Seeks Data On Babies Born To Drug Addicts

Oct 28, 2013

State officials want to do more for babies born with health problems from drug-addicted mothers.

Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow spoke with one representative who says collecting the data must be the first plan of action.

In the battle against addiction, statistics can be a vital weapon to better understand what you’re dealing with, that’s according to Republican Representative Lynn Wachtmann. His newly proposed bill requires maternal facilities to report all babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition with many symptoms in babies exposed to addictive drugs while in the womb.

Reporting these cases, Wachtmann says, will give the state a better idea of the severity of this ongoing problem. The representative admits it’s out of character for him to advocate for more regulation, but says it’s important to make this exception.

Wacthmann: “We believe the little bit of effort it will take on behalf of hospitals to report this—far outweighs the potential good that we can do by measuring—you know future years—how many of these babies we do have—how well we’re doing fighting addictions and things related to mothers, pregnant mothers, and their babies.”

Wachtmann believes this bill will see a large amount of support from both sides of the aisle, adding that the data could help the state with other issues such as improving the infant mortality rate.