Daily Brief: 2016.12.14


Surge in drug-affected newborns

According to a recently released report, the increase in drug-dependent newborns is disproportionately larger in rural areas. The rising rates are believed to be largely due to widening use of opioids among pregnant women.
(Sources: Fox News, CBS News, JAMA)

The study, led by University of Michigan researchers, found that although these births are being documented in both rural and urban areas, rates are climbing at a much faster rate in rural and small-town America than in cities. More specifically, from 2004 to 2013, the proportion of newborns born dependent on drugs increased nearly sevenfold in hospitals in rural counties, to 7.5 per 1,000 from 1.2 per 1,000. By contrast, the uptick among urban infants was nearly fourfold, to 4.8 per 1,000 from 1.4 per 1,000.
(Sources: The New York Times, Science Daily)

According to another study, released in the Journal of Perinatology, hospital costs associated with treating addicted newborns rose to $1.5 billion in 2013, from $732 million in 2009.
(Source: Nature)


  1. The authors highlight the need for community hospitals to be adequately staffed and resourced to treat women and infants impacted by opioid use.
  2. Providers are encouraged to continue to educate female patients regarding the risks associated with drug use and pregnancy. 
  3. Individuals who are physically dependent on abused opioid should seek professional medical help. (Source: SAMHSA, Fox News)