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- 12/14/2016

Jama Pediatrics study reveals: opioid-related problems in babies surge in rural areas

Pharma Horizon

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A new study  from Jama Pediatrics shows that births of infants exposed to heroin and other addictive opioids while in the womb increased more than sixfold in rural communities between 2004 and 2013, compared with a more than threefold increase in urban areas. For the study, which is published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers looked at babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Using a nationally representative sample of hospital discharge records, they found that cases of NAS increased from 1.2 to 7.5 per 1,000 hospital births in rural areas, while the rate increased from 1.4 to 4.8 per 1,000 hospital births in urban areas. Hospital deliveries complicated by the mother’s opioid use increased from 1.3 to 8.1 per 1,000 deliveries in rural areas and from 1.6 to 4.8 per 1,000 in urban settings. “This geographic disparity highlights the urgent need for policy makers to appropriate funding for clinicians and programs that could improve access to opioid prevention and treatment services for rural women and children,” according the study’s authors, led by Nicole Villapiano, a physician at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

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