October 10, 2018 - Posts

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome


We are a Tennessee law firm that represents individuals in claims against drug manufacturers. The opioid epidemic is a national disaster.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, opioids have already killed 300,000 Americans with another half million people expected to die in the next decade.  Our most vulnerable victims – babies born addicted to opioids or benzodiazepines – will often require services and support the rest of their lives.


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) has exploded in parts of Tennessee.  Tennessee’s rate of NAS increased 1000% from 2000-2010, while during the same time, the rate only increased 300% in the rest of the country. Since 2013, there have been more than 4,000 reported cases of infants with NAS in Tennessee where the majority of cases come from East Tennessee, specifically in the Northeast and Sullivan County.


Our law firm is presently reviewing potential cases to bring on behalf of infants and children who were born with NAS as a result of their mother’s addiction to opioids.  There are a number of obstacles to achieving results, but our team of dedicated lawyers and paralegals are well equipped to go to battle with the drug manufacturers.


Our team is led by Jerry Martin, a native Tennessean who served as the United States Attorney, the top federal law enforcement official in the region. While U.S. Attorney, Jerry oversaw “pill mill” cases, and fought big health care companies who defrauded the Medicare program. He is perfectly suited to lead the firm’s efforts in representing infants and children suffering from NAS due to no fault of their own.


For too long, drug manufacturers enabled the opioid epidemic by downplaying risks and failing to warn consumers of the highly addictive nature of their products.  The oversight of the distribution of these drugs was too lax, and a blind eye was turned as the problem grew and grew.  As a result, we believe that under Tennessee law, these manufacturers and distributors can be held accountable.  If you call our firm on behalf of an infant or child, who suffers from NAS then we will immediately launch an investigation to determine what claims you may have against which entities.


What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

NAS is a group of conditions that occur when a baby goes through withdrawal from an addictive drug he or she was exposed to in the womb. During pregnancy, drugs or alcohol pass through the placenta to the baby, who can become dependent in on them. When the baby is born, the drug supply is cut off, and can cause the baby to go through withdrawal.


The symptoms can vary widely, but can include fever, inability to eat or sleep, seizures and trembling, vomiting, rapid breathing and slow weight gain. Babies born with NAS generally need to stay in the hospital longer.


Does Prescription Medicine Cause NAS?

The most common cause of NAS is women taking opioids (painkillers), or benzodiazepines (medicine used for anxiety or sleep disorders) during pregnancy. These drugs can cause withdrawal when a mother is using a medication as prescribed, or when a mother is using a prescription medication inappropriately (if she uses too much of a medication, takes the medication too often, or takes someone else’s prescription).


About 50-70% of mothers who take opioids during pregnancy will give birth to a baby with NAS. 70% of those mothers are taking at least one medication prescribed by a physician. There has been a significant increase in NAS cases where mothers were only exposed to prescription medications. Shockingly, in 2015, the percentage of infants with NAS from prescription medication hit an all-time high of 52.5%.



To learn more about our Defective Drug and Devices practice click here. If you or a loved one cares for an infant with NAS, please call our firm at (615) 244-2202.

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