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In recognition of June as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Awareness Month, Health and Human Services hopes to :

  • Increase awareness about NAS to pregnant women about the dangers of using opioids during pregnancy;
  • Increase education and reduce stigma in seeking help for pregnant women using opioids that they should not discontinue opioid use due to the risk of maternal relapse, overdose, withdrawals and fetal demise;
  • and to provide community resources to pregnant women in Texas.

With the increased attention on the opioid epidemic, it is important to remember most people do not intend to become dependent on substances. The nation’s leading research organization focused on improving the lives of children and youth report that childhood trauma is a key contributor to the development of substance use disorder. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Of the persons entering state-funded substance use disorder treatment services, 22 percent report four or more ACEs, compared to Texas percent reporting of 10 percent on the National Survey of Children’s Health (Child Trends, 2014).

Prescription opioid overdose deaths are a growing problem among all women, and opioid use among pregnant women has also increased. The state has seen a dramatic increase in maternal opioid use and NAS – in fact, every 25 minutes, a baby is born with NAS. Texas’s NAS birth rates in the Medicaid population have increased every year since 2013. Finally, the Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force found that drug overdose (typically opioids) was the leading cause of maternal mortality for women, typically occurring 61 days after delivery.

Things to remember:

  • Pregnant women have been a priority population in state-funded substance use disorder treatment services since 1994.
  • Pregnant women using opioids should not discontinue opioid use due to the risk of maternal relapse, overdose, withdrawal, and fetal demise.
  • Every health region in Texas has an Outreach, Screening, Assessment and Referral (OSAR) Center which can assist any Texas resident with finding appropriate treatment and community resources. Please visit to find your local resource and for more assistance.

Providers can view more resources including videos and community resources at at