Drug withdrawal in infants born to opiate-abusing mothers—Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)—is increasingly prevalent.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) occurs in newborns and is primarily caused by opiate use by the mother during the prenatal period. There are currently no national estimates on NAS or for the incidence of opiate use among expectant mothers. Using a nationally representative sample of newborns, this article discusses the retrospective analysis performed for hospital expenditures and length of stay costs from 2000 through 2009 for newborns with NAS.
This study has several limitations as it uses discharge data that may have included errors or omissions and inaccurate coding. Also, physician awareness of NAS may be increasing causing the incidence to go up. Despite these and other limitations mentioned, the increasing prevalence of NAS and its associated health care expenditures are a considerable public health concern.