Three weeks premature, Baby Jessica entered the world weighing only 4 lbs. 12 ounces. Crying inconsolably in the NICU, she experienced tremors, blisters, and severe reflux.
One of the most distressing aspects of NAS is that it is preventable, but due to social stigma and fear of potential legal consequences, including loss of custody, many women (73.3% in one study) hide their substance abuse. As early as 2012, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists developed guidelines for intervening in these pregnancies via opioid agonist pharmacotherapy. In spite of these guidelines, cases like Jessica's are all too common.