Newborn exposure to prescription drugs on rise

Posted at 4:18 AM, May 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-10 03:54:35-04

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida officials are launching a new initiative to tackle the growing problem of newborns exposed to prescription drugs.

Newborns exposed to prescription drugs while in the womb suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Symptoms include fever, seizures, blotchy skin, respiratory problems and sensitivity to sounds and light.

Officials say about seven out of every 1,000 Florida babies born in 2011 were diagnosed with NAS.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Health will hold a press conference Friday in Tampa.

Last month, officials launched and a 1-877-233-5656 helpline designed to educate expectant mothers about the importance of discussing prescription drug use with their doctors.

Billboards are also going up across the state to promote the website and helpline.