System identifies newborns that need withdrawal medication

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Doctors at WVU Medicine have developed a uniform system to identify newborns suffering from addiction withdrawal.

Berkeley Medical Center Neonatal Clinic Director Dr. Mark Polak told The Journal that the uniform diagnostic scoring system helps determine which babies need withdrawal medication. He says not all infants born to addicted mothers go through withdrawal and many can be treated without medication, which shortens their hospital stay.

The move is one step to address the increasing number of babies born addicted over the last decade, as West Virginia has been among the states hit hardest by the national opioid epidemic.

WVU Medicine has adopted the approach at all of its medical centers.

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