Opioid addiction is truly a crisis in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses accounted for 70,237 deaths across the nation in 2017. Two-thirds of those deaths were opioid-related.
Opioids don’t just take a toll on adults. They also take a toll on babies who are born with opioid withdrawal symptoms. As the number of opioid-addicted adults has increased, so has the number of infants suffering from opioid withdrawal (also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome). Those infants need specialized medical care. Bill S.5480-Rivera/A.1141-Simotas would respond to the needs of such infants by creating an infant recovery centers pilot program. Under this legislation, the New York State Department of Health would open at least four recovery centers throughout the state for infants suffering withdrawal symptoms. The sponsors’ memo asserts that these centers could provide better care to infants suffering withdrawal while also alleviating overcrowding at hospitals. The bill would also require that the Legislature receive a report on the effectiveness of the pilot programs.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports Bill S.5480-Rivera/A.1141-Simotas. It is our hope that this legislation will provide vulnerable infants whose young lives have been damaged by maternal opioid use with the care that they need to survive and thrive.