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Foster Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Help Women and Infants with Opioid Dependency

May 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) advanced legislation that would provide access to inpatient treatment services for pregnant and postpartum women as they receive treatment for opioid dependency. The bill passed unanimously by voice vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Individuals who struggle with opioid dependency deserve the support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Women who are pregnant or who have just given birth and their newborns are especially vulnerable to opioid dependency. It is important to the health of our communities that we come together and move past gridlock and expand life-saving programs that will benefit women and their newborns,” Foster said.

“We’ve started to break down the stigma of speaking about addiction, and we’ve started to view addiction less as a moral failing and more as a treatable medical condition. I’m proud to work with Congressman Guthrie on this important legislation that will improve the lives of women and children, and I thank him for his leadership on this issue.”

“When a pregnant woman is experiencing opioid use disorder, not only is her life in danger, but also the life of her child, who could be born experiencing opioid withdrawal. I was proud to join Congressman Foster to introduce this bill that will enhance Medicaid services for pregnant and postpartum women and their infants. I applaud the bipartisan approval of this bill at the Energy and Commerce Committee and look forward to voting for it on the House floor,” said Guthrie, Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.

As the number of pregnant women who struggled with opioid dependency has grown, the number of children who are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has quadrupled over the past 15 years. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that almost six out of 1,000 infants born in the United States are diagnosed with the syndrome.

Text of the bill is available here.