U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Tom Garret joined forces for the “Assisting States’ Implementation of the Plans of Safe Care Act,” which the House passed last week. The measure ensures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guides states with infants born with dependency of drugs to work with health-care providers and stakeholders to work tirelessly in keeping families together.
When the bill passed, Garret explained that “This bill is a significant step towards helping the nameless and faceless victims of the opioid epidemic. The epidemic takes a horrific toll on children born into households where opioid use is prevalent. While no legislation is a panacea, I am excited to patron this bill. I look forward to continuing my term in the 115th Congress by ardently supporting the residents of the Fifth District of Virginia and the United States.”
Murphy took to the House floor to comment on the legislation, detailing that “The purpose of our bill is to ensure that states have effective plans in place to protect infants who are innocent victims of the opioid epidemic. The bill aims to help Florida and other states develop evidence-based policies and procedures to properly care for babies born dependent on drugs. Too many Americans—and too many Floridians—battle opioid addiction. As a mother, it breaks my heart to see innocent children suffer the consequences of adult addiction. We must do everything possible to ensure that drug-dependent babies receive proper care at the hospital and proper family, community and medical support once they are discharged. ”
She also noted that “There are an estimated 2.1 million Americans addicted to opioids, typically to prescription painkillers. Babies born to mothers who used opioids during pregnancy are at risk of an opioid-withdrawal condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. While there are common and effective ways to treat this syndrome, there are no uniform protocols. Under federal law, states are required to develop a plan to safely care for infants exposed to substance abuse. However, a 2015 investigation by Reuters indicated that very few states have plans in place that fulfill this federal requirement. As a result, too many infants exposed to substance abuse, and the families responsible for these infants’ care, are not receiving the comprehensive support they need. Our bill seeks to address this problem.”