LEND Northeast Regional Partnership: Effects of Substance Abuse on Young Children

May 22, 2019

Opioid use among pregnant women has increased. In 2014, almost 7 per 1,000 deliveries in the United States were to women with an opioid use disorder. This represents a ~30% increase from 2012 to 2014 1. There are an estimated 25-29,000 diagnosed cases of perinatal substance exposure per year in the US. Infants with perinatal substance exposure have a 50-95% chance of developing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) after birth 2. New England has among the highest incidence of NAS (13.7 per 1,000 hospital births in 2012-2.4 times national average at the time)5. In 2012, Vermont reported 43.7 cases per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations - 8.9 times the national average and Maine reported 34.1 cases per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations -7.0 times national average 3. Given the magnitude and urgency of this crisis, states are moving quickly to build integrated systems of care for pregnant women with opioid use disorder and their opioid-exposed infants. Providers from a variety of disciplines are seeking training in trauma-informed, evidence-based practices in supporting pregnant women with opioid use disorder and infants diagnosed with NAS.

In response to this need the Northeast Regional LEND programs partnered with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to provide a full day training on the Effects of Substance Abuse on Young Children on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Concord, NH. The conference convened an interprofessional panel of presenters from around New England. Disciplines represented included developmental-behavioral pediatrics, neonatology, psychiatry, social work, and recovery. Sessions focused on neonatal abstinence syndrome and the neurodevelopmental effect of in utero alcohol and opiate exposure, the impact of childhood trauma and adversity on development, recognizing and decreasing stigma in care, and practical strategies to help calm children (and adults) when they are escalated. Read more about the conference and the presenters here: https://ce.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/Activity/6701847/Detail.aspx


The conference was sponsored by the NH-ME LEND Program at Dartmouth College in partnership with Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Services at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Connecticut LEND Program at UCONN Health; Eunice Kennedy Shriver LEND Program at University of Massachusetts Medical School; LEND Program at Boston Children's Hospital; Maine LEND at the University of New England; Rhode Island LEND at Rhode Island Hospital.


1 Hamilton BE Martin JA Osterman MJK Driscoll AK Rossen LM. Vital Statistics Rapid Release, Rep No. 004 (2018) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report004.pdf

2 Hudak ML Tan RC The Committee on Drugs The Committee on Fetus and Newborn Pediatrics 129, e540 (2012) doi:10.1542/peds.2011-3212

3 Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS),
Maine Automated Child Welfare Information System (MACWIS) and Office of Maine Attorney General.