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HHS Partnering With States To Help Moms, Babies With Opioid Addiction

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday the agency will work with states to offer services for moms and babies affected by the opioid epidemic.
Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 23, 2018

The Trump administration says it's ramping up efforts to support moms and babies directly impacted by the nation's opioid epidemic

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday that the agency will work with states to provide services to mothers who have substance abuse disorders and infants who are born dependent on drugs. 

Neonatal abstinence syndrome happens after in utero exposure to certain drugs, and especially opioids. It causes withdrawal symptoms in babies as they're weaned off the drugs. The CDC says the incidence of the condition has gone up substantially over the last 10 years.

According to Azar, a program specifically devoted to the issue will be launched soon by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. It's not clear exactly what kind of services will be offered or in which states. 

The announcement comes just before President Donald Trump is expected to sign anti-opioid legislation that will address the epidemic in part by increasing funding for and access to treatment.  

Preliminary data from the CDC estimates that 72,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017.