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State Representative Ryan Williams Sponsors Measure To Reduce Instances Of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

(NASHVILLE) — House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) is sponsoring a measure to reduce instances of babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in Tennessee.

House Bill 2348 — brought to Chairman Williams by James Gray, M.D. of Cookeville —requires physicians who are prescribing opioids to women of childbearing age (14-44) to also prescribe a long-acting form of birth control in order to curb instances of children being exposed to opioids.

NAS is a condition that occurs when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb before birth. According to a national study of pregnant women who were abusing opioids, nearly 90 percent of pregnancies in these instances were unintended. Additionally, NAS infants usually require hospital stays on average of about 21 days at a cost of more than $44,314 per child in TennCare expenses.

“NAS births have become almost a daily occurrence in communities across our state,” said Chairman Williams. “Unfortunately, these children endure tremendous suffering immediately after they are born. If we are going to break the cycle of addiction and solve the immense problem that is our state’s opioid crisis, we must implement solutions that include reducing the likelihood that our children are exposed to opioids. I am proud to sponsor passage of an initiative that is designed to accomplish this important goal.”

House Bill 2348 is expected to be heard by members of the House Health Committee on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

For more information about the measure, please click here.

Ryan Williams serves as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus. He also serves as a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling (615) 741-1875.

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