Since 2011, the Greater Cincinnati region has seen a dramatic increase in the number of babies born that are substance exposed and exhibit symptoms of withdrawal, a condition also known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

In the first quarter of 2015 alone, St. Elizabeth estimates five to six percent of newborns were born opiate exposed, either from recreational drugs or prescription medication. Since babies don’t always exhibit symptoms until two or three days after birth (after they’ve already been sent home), birthing hospitals throughout the community drug test all laboring moms to see if their baby has been exposed. If testing comes back positive, infants undergo approximately four days of observation.

Based on the severity of their symptoms, they may require admission and treatment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Approximately 60 percent of babies exposed to maternal drugs require admission to the NICU. The expert St. Elizabeth NICU staff continues to collaborate with healthcare facilities in Ohio and Kentucky to ensure they are providing the most up-to-date treatment for their tiniest patients. St. Elizabeth is dedicated to the care and support of substance-exposed newborns in an ongoing effort to ease the clinical manifestations of withdrawal and restore normal newborn activity.

For more information about St. Elizabeth Physicians, please visit stelizabethphysicians.com.