Health Official: Tenn. only state seeing fewer drug addicted babies

Jan 16, 2020


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- State officials say the number of Tennessee babies born addicted to drugs is falling.


During a hearing Wednesday, state lawmakers learned the number of babies suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome peaked in 2017 at roughly 1200 cases.


Data for 2019 is still preliminary, but appear to total cases have dropped roughly 35 percent over two years.


Dr. Morgan McDonald with the Tennessee Department of Health says the use of illicit opioids is falling among pregnant women.


“There has been a sustained shift away from diverted prescription exposure to MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) and to prescribed medications. That is a really good thing. That means that women are entering treatment earlier, and that they are maintaining that treatment throughout their pregnancy.”

Dr. Morgan noted that Tennessee is the only state that has reported a drop in the number of drug addicted children under care.