By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment that would provide $300,000 to the Health Policy Commission for a childhood grant program to support and care for families with substance-exposed newborns that suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). This syndrome is a group of problems a baby experiences when withdrawing from exposure to narcotics.

Sen. Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth), the sponsor of the amendment, said that newborns that are born with NAS, experience the same withdrawal symptoms that adults with the same dependency would experience [including] GI upset, muscle rigidity and sensory hypersensitivity, and can suffer from long term consequences such as behavioral problems, vision impairments and motor skill delays.

“This amendment and the funding it included will be instrumental in targeting communities and assisting families that are in need of support and whose children are in need of treatment,” explained deMacedo. “Not only will this program offer intervention and support, it will be a crucial step in collecting quantitative data on the long term needs of these children experiencing NAS and will allow future children to receive better, more targeted treatment and prevention in the future.”

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