Tuesday, April 24th: Attorney General Pam Bondi will convene the first Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns meeting at 2 pm in the Cabinet meeting room, the Capitol, Tallahassee, Fla. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, will attend the meeting as a special guest.Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns
In October 2011, Attorney General Bondi, Senator Joe Negron, and Representative Kelli Stargel announced a legislative proposal to create a Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns. The task force is charged with examining the scope of the problem, the costs associated with caring for babies with neonatal withdrawal syndrome, the long-term effects of the syndrome, and strategies for preventing prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers.
Neonatal withdrawal syndrome is a collection of problems that will occur in a newborn that has been exposed to addictive drugs while in the womb. Symptoms of withdrawal include: fever, seizures, blotchy skin, incessant shrill cries, respiratory problems, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. Since Florida is the epicenter of prescription drug abuse, a state-level response is needed. If this epidemic is not slowed, and then reversed, the risk to the well-being of women and their children and medical costs associated with expectant mothers and newborns will continue to rise.