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August 21, 2018

NAPW's Statement on a Recently Published CDC Report

A recently published CDC report states that “Nationally, rates of opioid use disorder at delivery hospitalization more than quadrupled during 1999–2014.” While it is correct that opioid use among all people — including pregnant women — has increased across the population, it is important to understand that many factors play into this “increased” number, including improved screening and diagnosis. 

Opioid use and dependency among pregnant women in the United States have increasingly been the subject of new studies, media awareness, and new state laws and policies. Unfortunately, this has not been accompanied by increased funding for treatment, and media hype and misinformation about the relative harms of illegal drugs continue to lead to harmful policy decisions.

NAPW will continue the fight for people with the capacity for pregnancy to receive the health care they deserve. The current standard of care for treating pregnant women with opioid dependence is opioid-assisted therapy with methadone or buprenorphine. Research shows that those newborns who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – a treatable, non-life threatening, transitory set of symptoms – can benefit from skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and caring for mother/baby in the same room (“rooming in”).

Poverty and a lack of affordable health care and housing pose greater risks to maternal, fetal, and child health than a pregnant woman’s use of illegal drugs. NAPW also will continue to fight punitive and dangerous legal and regulatory schemes that increase risks to maternal, fetal, and child health, including child welfare laws that empower states to investigate families and even remove children from their parents’ care based on nothing more than a newborn’s positive toxicology result. 

We must all continue to advocate for increasing the availability of confidential, accessible and nonjudgmental, empirically-based health care and other supports for pregnant women, mothers, and their families.

August 10, 2018

Understanding Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Opioid use and dependency among pregnant women in the United States has increasingly been the subject of new state laws and policies. Unfortunately, this has not led to increased funding for treatment, and misinformation has resulted in harmful policy decisions. Download this fact sheet for more information about opioid use during pregnancy, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and best practices for improving maternal and fetal health.

August 2, 2018

NAPW Demands Indiana Prosecutor Drop Murder Charge Against Woman Who Had a Stillbirth at Home

NAPW, along with 11 other organizations and 27 individual experts, submitted an Open Letter to the Madison County, Indiana prosecutor, asking him to drop felony charges against a woman who experienced a stillbirth at home. An Indiana woman who experienced a pregnancy loss is being prosecuted for feticide and involuntary manslaughter, based on her alleged drug use while pregnant. These charges were brought even though Indiana’s law has been changed to clarify that a woman cannot be prosecuted for these crimes in relationship to her own pregnancy. This person was arrested only after seeking medical assistance, and spent many months in jail. The prosecutor must drop this dangerous and counter-productive prosecution.

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