In 2015, 986 Tennessee newborns were diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), due to the mother’s use of drugs while pregnant, and in 2016 the number exceeded 991. There are 95 counties in the state of Tennessee, and of those 991 babies born dependent on drugs, 97 were born in Knox County. But THERE IS HOPE. There are many ways to help women of child-bearing age and expectant mothers decrease or eliminate drug withdrawal for their baby. Born Drug-Free Tennessee is a campaign de-signed to provide support and resources to women during their pregnancy.
Who We Are
We are an initiative implemented by the East Tennessee Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Task Force, representing agencies across the region, including: East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County, Metro Drug Coalition , Rescue 180, HEAL of Sevier County, Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, and Mary Beth West Communications.
The goal of Born Drug-Free Tennessee is to connect pregnant women who are struggling with a substance use disorder to locate an evidence-based substance use treatment provider and enter prenatal care as early in pregnancy as possible. We know that the earlier a woman enters both pre-natal care and drug treatment, the better outcomes for both mother and baby.
What is NAS?
When pregnant women take prescription medications or other drugs, their baby may be born drug-dependent. This condition is called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). It does not matter if the medications are prescribed to the mother or not. The potential impact on the baby is the same. A baby born with NAS can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as: fever, seizures, blotchy skin, continuous crying, rapid breathing, respiratory problems and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. Some babies’ symptoms will be so great that they will require hospitalization, intensive care and medications for several weeks to keep them comfortable and safe during the withdrawal process.
The East Tennessee Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Task Force would like to express special thank you to Born Drug Free Florida for the development and design of these campaign materials. Also, a special thank you to Appalachia HIDTA and United Way of Greater Knoxville for providing the funding and support of this campaign.