House passes bill that would aid newborns addicted to opiates

The Protecting Our
Infants Act of 2015, a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Katherine Clark (D-MA) that would help hospitals
diagnose and treat newborns suffering from opiate dependency, passed 
the House earlier this week.

“Among the many innocent victims of our opiate crisis in Ohio and around the country are the thousands of babies who are born addicted to drugs every year,” Stivers said. “Through this bill and a coordinated response from government and health care and drug-treatment professionals, we hope to reverse this dangerous trend and get these families on the path to full recovery.”

In recent years, research has indicated a significant rise in the abuse of opiates, leading to a troubling increase in the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). NAS can cause several side effects in infants as a result of prenatal exposure to drugs such as heroin, methadone and opiate-based prescription painkillers. Once they are born, exposure to the drug from the mother ends, pushing the babies into withdrawal.
The Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015, a targeted effort to make NAS a national priority, would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a best-practices handbook for dealing with NAS and designate an agency to begin collecting NAS data that can be used for research into treatment and prevention.
The Protecting Our Infants Act has gained the endorsement of many national health care  groups advocating for the health and safety of children and mothers, including the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced companion legislation.

Stivers has represented Ohio’s 15th District in the U.S. House since 2011. Born in Ripley, Ohio, in 1965, Stivers previously served in the Ohio Senate, representing the 16th district. Stivers was educated at Ohio State University and serves on the following committees: Financial Services Committee and the Rules Committee.?