Ohio Legislator Proposes Requiring Hospitals to Report Opioid-Dependent Newborns

A bill proposed by an Ohio legislator would require hospitals to report the number of opioid-dependent babies born each year, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

“It’s one of the few measurements we will have ongoing for future legislators to see if we’re impacting these addiction issues in a positive, negative or neutral way,” bill sponsor Representative Lynn Wachtmann told the newspaper. “That’s one of the frustrations I’ve heard time and time again — it’s hard to get good measurements in place so we know how we’re doing.”

The measure specifies that information reported by hospitals could not be passed on to law enforcement agencies. Other bills under consideration by the Ohio legislature include requiring hospices to track medications and dispose of them when they are no longer needed; banning doctors from prescribing certain drugs to treat opioid addiction unless the patient is also receiving behavioral counseling; and requiring counties to offer a full spectrum of drug-addiction and mental health services.

This summer, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced a $4.2 million pilot program to treat pregnant women addicted to heroin and prescription drugs.

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    Michael W Shore, M.D.

    December 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Obtaining the data to determine the incidence and prevalence is useful for planning intervention and treatment needs, but it should NOT be required to give the names of the newborn or the mother. In the event that the mother was not on opiate substitution replacement therapy (eg. methadone or suboxone) social services will be notified anyway. What I would ask is what will be done with data – will it result in additional treatment being made available for the mothers? Dr. Shore

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