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Children's Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: May 19, 2017 - 7:23:59 AM

CDC and March of Dimes Partner on New Initiative for Babies Exposed to Drugs During Pregnancy

By Staff Editor
May 19, 2017 - 7:17:58 AM

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( - WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.May 19, 2017 -- The March of Dimes, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has awarded grants to conduct one year of surveillance on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in three states with high rates of NAS: Vermont, Illinois, and New Mexico. The project will enable each state to conduct enhanced identification of babies born with NAS and evaluate the health services needed by these babies through one year of age.

"The March of Dimes has made it a priority to help and support women and infants affected by opioid use and other substance use disorders," says Stacey D. Stewart, president of the March of Dimes. "There are few things more tragic than an infant starting out life in drug withdrawal.  We owe it to these babies to do everything in our power to ensure they are treated appropriately and can recover fully from drug exposure."

"We know that more babies are being born exposed to drugs during pregnancy, but we need more accurate estimates of the scope of the problem," says Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA, senior vice president for Mission Impact and chief medical officer of the March of Dimes. "The surveillance data gathered by this project will help these three states understand what is happening in their states and the resources that pregnant women and babies need."

"We believe the lessons learned from this three-state initiative can be applied in other states across the nation," Dr. Jarris says.

The states were selected through a competitive application process and are being funded under a cooperative agreement between the March of Dimes and CDC to strengthen the nation's capacity to deliver public health services through public health departments and community organizations.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites and For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


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