Senator McConnell’s Bill to Address Prenatal Addiction and Infant Opioid Withdrawal Goes to President for Signature

Speaker Paul Ryan signs Senator McConnell’s bill, Protecting Our Infants Act, prior to sending to the President’s desk.
Speaker Paul Ryan signs Senator McConnell’s bill, Protecting Our Infants Act, prior to sending to the President’s desk.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan held an enrollment ceremony today for Senator McConnell’s legislation to address the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and infants suffering from opioid withdrawal. The Protecting Our Infants Act was signed today by Speaker Ryan and is now being sent to the President for his signature.

The McConnell bill, cosponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a departmental review to identify gaps in research and any duplication, overlap or gaps in prevention and treatment programs related to prenatal opioid abuse and infants born with opioid withdrawal. It also instructs the HHS Secretary to work with stakeholders to develop recommendations both for preventing prenatal opioid abuse and for treating infants born dependent on opioids. Finally, this measure encourages the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to help improve their public health response to this epidemic.

Nationwide, there has been a staggering increase in the number of infants diagnosed with newborn withdrawal since 2000. In Kentucky, that number grew by more than 4,500 percent — from 29 infants identified as suffering from drug withdrawal annually in 2000 to more than 1,400 in 2014.

“Tragically, prescription drug abuse and heroin use has skyrocketed in Kentucky and in other states across the nation. Americans, no matter their demographic, socio-economic status, age or gender, are dying. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this crisis is the increasing number of infants who are born dependent on opioids in the form of prescription painkillers and heroin. These infants are the most innocent among us, and for them to start off life suffering from a dependence on drugs is intolerable,” Senator McConnell said. “I’m encouraged that Congress has approved the legislation and I urge the President to quickly sign it into law.”

One thought on “Senator McConnell’s Bill to Address Prenatal Addiction and Infant Opioid Withdrawal Goes to President for Signature”

  1. Dear Senator McConnell:

    I recently relocated back to Florida. However I lived in Kentucky and became a foster to adopt parent. One of the foster children I had, was an opoid addicted newborn. I spent the night with him in ICU so I could learn how to care for him. These little babies go through hell when they are trying to withdraw, and as they grow and develop. I hate to rain on Any bodies parade, but until you get much, much tougher on the parents to stay in treatment the “first time”, this will continue. Over and over again, infants and children are given back to the parent(s), or to a next of kin , who just let hem go back home in secret as soon as the caseworker is gone. I think Legislation should require one year of in -house rehab WITH the child. In the beginning it might sound more expensive, but in the long run, you may find that more parents turn their lives around instead of repeatedly re-entering the system with their children.
    Obviously, if foster care has the child, it only gives them more freedom to go out and continue to get high. On some cases next of kin does help, but it’s a 50/50 toss up because when you are dealing with someone on drigs, it can be very intimidating. Not to mention that you hate telling your child that they can’t see their kid.
    Senator I would appreciate if you would ready book on Amazon. Com it’s called Cries from the Hollows.

    Thank you,

    C. Pfeiffer

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