Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County has collaborated with numerous community agencies across East Tennessee toward eliminating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) diagnoses from babies born in East Tennessee. Babies born with NAS can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as fever, seizures, blotchy skin, continuous crying, rapid breathing, respiratory problems, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. The “Born Drug-Free Tennessee” campaign was designed to provide support and resources to mothers during their pregnancies so they have the best opportunity to deliver a healthy baby and become the mother their child needs them to be.

This project is being implemented by the East Tennessee NAS Task Force, representing agencies across the region, including: East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County, Metropolitan Drug Commission, Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team, Rescue 180, HEAL of Sevier County, Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, and Mary Beth West Communications.

“We are thrilled to be able to roll out this important campaign in the community,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “NAS is 100 percent preventable and we have an opportunity to significantly improve the health of newborns in Anderson County.”

So far in 2015, 303 cases of NAS have been reported in Tennessee, but there is hope. There are many ways to help both women of child-bearing age and expectant mothers lessen or eliminate drug withdrawal for their baby.

Mothers, family, friends, and practitioners each have a special section on the www.BornDrugFreeTN.com website where information and resources are specifically geared toward their anticipated needs. At this site, mothers and women of child baring age can learn what medications can cause drug withdrawal in newborns, how to prevent pregnancy until they can quit taking medications harmful to their baby, and other sensitive and legal issues.

Practitioners can access information on guidelines, tools used to identify misuse, and treatment options. The site also includes answers to frequently asked questions, helpful hints, and screening tools for women, which their family and friends can benefit from as well.

ASAP is continuing to further disseminate this information by delivering posters, provider information, and patient information to doctors’ offices throughout Anderson County. “It is our coalition’s goal to get as many doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and social service agencies to partner in this campaign as possible. We hope the community will help us spread this important message,” said Strutner.

For more information about the Born Drug-Free Tennessee campaign or to request printed materials contact Chris@ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007.

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