Drug testing is a clinical tool to assess medication and substance abuse that may result in pregnancy complications and harm to the fetus. Patient-centered drug testing enhances physician awareness of medication/drug use and possible misuse and it provides the physician an opportunity to educate and motivate behavioral change. This is an opportunity for collaboration and building a trusting patient- provider relationship.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Babies born dependent on heroin and other opiates is a sad reality. Newborn babies suffering from opiate withdrawl often shake, vomit and suffer from other symptoms as well like diarrhea. The nation’s opiate epidemic continues to take a toll on those that abuse illegal drugs or non-prescribed medication, both on themselves but also their children and families. Children born to opiate withdrawl is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. New research found that rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome have increased nearly five time across the country over the past 8-10 years. In rural countie, the proportion of babies suffering withdrawal has been especially pronounced, increasing from 12.9% in 2003 to 2004 to 21.2% in 2012 to 2013, according to research published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Babies born to withdrawal increased from 1.2 to 7.5 per 1,000 hospital births among rural infants and from 1.4 to 4.8 per 1,000 hospital births among urban infants. The frequency of hospital deliveries complicated by maternal opioid use also increased during the same period from 1.3 to 8.1 per 1,000 hospital deliveries among rural mothers and from 1.6 to 4.8 per 1,000 hospital deliveries among urban mothers, according to the report.
Babies going through withdrawal, commonly have difficulty sleeping and are irritable and uncomfortable. More serious side effects can include seizures and growth delays. With the already tight funding and resources, neonatal abstinence syndrome can put a significant strain on our healthcare system/staff.
Drug Testing To Ensure The Safety of The Mother And Child
Doctors routinely screen pregnant women for diseases, and some say adding drug abuse to the list would reduce the stigma of addiction as they seek help. Screening may include the use of urine drug tests when patient consent is obtained and the patient understands the purpose of the test and how the results will be used, including any mandatory state reporting requirements. In the past three decades, first trimester abuse of prescription medications has increased more than 60%. Premier Biotech offers urine drug testing products and laboratory services that assist in these programs throughout the country.
A Growing Concern
Growing support for universal screening is a sign of how big the problem has become. The number of babies born addicted to opiates has nearly quadrupled in just one decade in the US. This is likely due to the growing heroin epidemic. One drug-dependent baby is born every hour in the USA, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Screening may include the use of urine drug tests when patient consent is obtained and the patient understands the purpose of the test and how the results will be used, including any mandatory state reporting requirements.