The IMPACT WV project has partnered with the WV Home Visitation Program to provide early identification and intervention for high-risk families who have experienced substance use.
This page is intended to provide access to resources and tools related to serving children diagnosed with NAS, women who were, or are, using substances, and their families who receive services from home visiting programs. The information is intended for service providers from a variety of backgrounds including medical, mental health, substance treatment specialists, home visiting, social workers, education and employment specialists.
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Volunteers help soothe West Virginia’s drug-exposed babies
Caring for the Substance Exposed Newborn from Birth and Beyond
PPT presentation that includes information on NAS historical data, definitions, withdrawal, screening, scoring, treatment recommendations, and outcomes.
A Standardized Approach for Treating Infants at Risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
PPT presentation that includes information on NAS data, screening, scoring, non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment, nutrition and rooming in, and outcomes and lessons
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome for Social Workers and Foster Families
PPT presentation that includes information on NAS in WV, definitions, data, screening, scoring, treatment, nutrition, neurodevelopment concerns, and follow up
Questions from Providers
According to the March of Dimes, "Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS) is a group of conditions caused when a baby withdraws from certain drugs he's exposed to in the womb before birth. NAS is most often caused when a woman takes drugs called opioids during pregnancy. But it also can be caused by antidepressants (used to treat depression), barbiturates or benzodiazepines (sleeping pills). When you take these drugs during pregnancy, they can pass through the placenta and cause serious problems for your baby. The placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord."
The main difference between a Peer Recovery Coach and a Recovery Coach is that Peer Recovery Coaches have lived experiences. Peer Recovery Coaches are individuals who have lived addiction and have enough ‘clean and sober time’ in recovery to qualify to take a test through the West Virginia Addiction Professional Board licensing them to become a Peer Recovery Coach. A Recovery Coach has no lived experiences and is not eligible to take testing to become a Peer Recovery Coach, but they provide information on education and research.
According to SAMSHSA, "Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid dependence and addiction to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone… FDA approved naloxone, an injectable drug used to prevent an opioid overdose.” Learn more about the specific differences between the medications here.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, "Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems. Yet a number of effective treatments are available and people can recover from addiction and lead normal, productive lives." Learn more about addiction
Many babies exposed to certain substances in the womb (especially opioids) will show some signs of withdrawal after birth since they are no longer exposed to those substances once their umbilical cord is cut and their bodies process those substances out of their system. Withdrawal signs may include:
|Tremors (jitteriness or shaking of the extremities)||Trouble sleeping (falling asleep and staying asleep)|
|Overactive reflexes (twitching movements)||Breathing problems (fast breathing)|
|Tight muscle tone (stiffness)||Elevated body temperature (fever, sweating, blotchy skin)|
|Fussiness (excessive crying or having a high-pitched cry)||Excessively rooting with trouble sucking|
|Poor feeding (unable to eat enough, vomiting)||Lots of yawning|
|Slow weight gain (burning too many calories, poor feeding, diarrhea, vomiting)||Stuffy nose and/or lots of sneezing|
Learn more, by reading the Signs of NAS blog post here.
"You can reduce stigma and help save lives, just by changing your language. Person first language is proven to reduce stigma and improve treatment. Person-first language doesn’t define a person based on any medical disorder she may have. It’s nonjudgmental, it’s neutral, and the diagnosis is purely clinical." - Shatterproof
|Stigmatic Terminology||Recommended Terminology|
|Aberrant Behaviors||Using Medication Not as Prescribed or Intended|
|Addict||Person with Substance-Use Disorder|
|Addiction||Substance Use Disorder|
|Addictive Substance||Compound Which Might Promote Substance-Use|
|Clean Urine||Negative versus Positive, or Unexpected|
|Clean Addict||Person in Recovery|
|Criminal Law||Health Law|
|Dependent||A Person with a Substance-Use Disorder|
|Detoxification||In Therapy for Cessation|
|Noncompliant||Not in Agreement with the Treatment Plan|
|Opioid Substitution||Medication-assisted Treatment|
|Physical Dependence||Withdrawal and/or Tolerance|
|Problem User||Person with Substance-Use Disorder|
|Resistant||Has Not Begun, or Experiencing Ambivalence About|
|Opioid Substitution||Opioid Agonist Therapy|
|Unmotivated||Opted Not To|
Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorder with three steps to access care and five signs of quality treatment from SAMHSA (PDF).
Substance use treatment is provided at different levels of care and is often available in multiple treatment settings. The level of care is determined by severity of problem and use. Inpatient treatment is reserved for those with more serious use or those requiring detox. *Information from an IMPACT WV SBIRT Training by Keigan Aabel-Brown, MSW.
Treatment may include:
- Counseling, therapy, and other psychological rehabilitation services
- Medications: psychiatric for co-occurring disorders (in conjunction with talk-therapy) or Drug agonist (Buprenorphine) antagonist (naltrexone) therapy
- Self-Help or Support Groups (AA, NA, Al-Anon)
- Health and Wellness coaching (diet, exercise, meditation)
- Combination of the above