CDC and March of Dimes partner on new initiative for babies exposed to drugs during pregnancy

White Plains, NY | Friday, May 19, 2017

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The March of Dimes, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has awarded grants to conduct one-year of surveillance on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in three states with high rates of NAS:  Vermont, Illinois, and New Mexico. The project will enable each state to conduct enhanced identification of babies born with NAS and evaluate the health services needed by these babies through one year of age.

“The March of Dimes has made it a priority to help and support women and infants affected by opioid use and other substance use disorders,” says Stacey D. Stewart, president of the March of Dimes. “There are few things more tragic than an infant starting out life in drug withdrawal.  We owe it to these babies to do everything in our power to ensure they are treated appropriately and can recover fully from drug exposure.”

“We know that more babies are being born exposed to drugs during pregnancy, but we need more accurate estimates of the scope of the problem,” says Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president for Mission Impact and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. “The surveillance data gathered by this project will help these three states understand what is happening in their states and the resources that pregnant women and babies need.”

“We believe the lessons learned from this three-state initiative can be applied in other states across the nation,” Dr. Jarris says.  

The states were selected through a competitive application process and are being funded under a cooperative agreement between the March of Dimes and CDC to strengthen the nation’s capacity to deliver public health services through public health departments and community organizations.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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