Progress Report For Prescription Drug Abuse & Newborns

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By: Emily Johnson
March 3, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - "It's my intent to highlight the progress that we've made and discuss the current status of preventing drug abuse and our goal of treating fewer drug exposed newborns," said Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General.

The Florida Office of the Attorney General,Pam Bondi, and members of a Statewide Task Force released 15 new recommendations in their 2014 Progress Report of the Prescription Drug Abuse & Newborns.

"A lot of women didn't know what Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) was and what it could do to their unborn baby," said Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, Florida General Appointment.

At the press conference two mothers spoke on their experience of becoming clean and sober with the help they received from the Statewide Task Force.

"To come here and see two women who are expectant mothers who were directly and positively impacted by our work it's heart warming and it makes us feel good about what we're doing up here," said Rep. Dana Young, (R) Tampa, FL.

Although improvements have been slow they are steady. The Born Drug-Free Florida campaign has helped to bring attention to the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

"From that toll free number 131 women are now in treatment getting help so it saved their lives and the lives of their babies," said Dr. Haridopolos.

That toll free hotline is 1-877-233-5656. If you would like more information on the campaign you can visit the website

News Release: Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office
March 3, 2014, 3:30pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Attorney General Pam Bondi today convened the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns to discuss and release the Task Force’s 2014 report. The report provides an update on the implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations to combat Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). NAS refers to a group of medical complications associated with the withdrawal process newborns typically experience after birth if their mothers have abused prescription drugs during pregnancy.

“We must do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable victims of prescription drug abuse—babies whose mothers abuse drugs while pregnant,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Today’s report shows that in Florida we are taking the necessary steps toward protecting babies from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.”

Several of the recommendations that have already been implemented include:

  • Launching a statewide public awareness campaign;

  • Establishing a help line for expectant mothers;

  • Increasing use of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Database;

  • Assisting families with adopting drug-exposed babies; and

  • Increasing hospital beds for expectant mothers in need of behavioral health treatment.

To access the Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns 2014 report, click here.

The Task Force was developed during the 2012 legislative session and has studied the scope of the problem of prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers, the cost of caring for newborns suffering from NAS, the long term impacts of the disease and prevention strategies.

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