McConnell bill targets infant heroin addiction

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a bill Thursday that he said aims to address maternal and infant opiate dependency.

“Prescription drug and heroin abuse have risen to epidemic levels,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “One issue in particular that grabbed my attention was the increasing number of infants in Kentucky being born dependent on opiates.

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“It’s just heart-breaking.”

McConnell cited a report that more than one baby every hour is born dependent on drugs. He said that is more than a 3,000 percent increase in his home state.

McConnell said the Protecting Our Infants Act would encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states to educate the public and prevent addiction. He said it would also promote recommendations on how to identify babies suffering from withdrawals.

“My legislation is no silver bullet, but it is a step in the right direction,” McConnell said. “And it will help ensure that our public health system is better equipped to prevent and treat opiate addiction in mothers and their newborn children.” 

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