Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Maternal Addiction

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a significant and increasing public health issue, with estimates that one infant is born addicted every hour in the United States. Tiny newborns with NAS suffer withdrawal only hours after entering the world: nausea, vomiting, and tremors. These early signs may be unrecognized as NAS prior to a typical discharge at 48 hours of life. If unidentified and untreated infants can develop excessive weight loss, grand mal seizures and may die. In an 18-month period in Ohio, more than 550 full-term infants with NAS were identified in six children’s hospitals and their affiliates, which represent only 14% of Ohio newborn care sites (the tip of the iceberg). The epidemic is steadily increasing, overwhelming social service systems and public payers. In Ohio in 2011, treating conditions associated with narcotics incurred more than $70 million in healthcare expenses, 1,649 admissions (roughly five per day) and nearly 19,000 hospital days.

OPQC is committed to improving the care these infants receive through their NAS Project. Here, you can find resources that will explain the problem of NAS in more detail, shed light on maternal addiction, and educate parents on the care of their new baby with NAS.

Maternal Addiction

Pause Before You Prescribe (brochure for clinicians who prescribe to women of reproductive age)

Resources for Prescribing Clinicians

Understanding NAS as a Chronic Illness, by Dr. Ron Abrahams (video from our January 27, 2014 Learning Session)

Mother’s Journey through Addiction and Ohio Resources, by Dr. Krisanna Deppen (video from our January 27, 2014 Learning Session)

Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) Panel, by Dr. Michael Marcotte, Dr. Mona Prasad, and Dr. Jennifer Bailit (video from our June 26, 2014 Learning Session)

Management of Pain in Pregnancy, by Dr. Jay Weller (video from our June 26, 2014 Learning Session)


NAS Print Resources

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A Guide for Families (booklet for patients and families)

Crib Card (for fussy babies)
*Please note to print this card in "actual size" not "fit to page" under the print properties.

Provision of 22-calorie formula for infants with NAS (rationale and recipe)

Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring Tool

Finnegan Sleeping Record

Finnegan Yawning and Sneezing Record

Inter-Rater Reliability Scoring Sheet


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

OPQC hosted a series of webinars in 2014 and 2015 in an effort to promote best practices in caring for mothers and infants. These webinars are archived below and available for anyone to access nationwide. OPQC webinars have reached hundreds of attendees from states such as Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, and Ohio. Topics have included Antenatal Corticosteroids, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), and Progesterone as an intervention for preterm birth. View them here.




*Disclaimer: The images of people used on this website are for visual representations only.