(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin labeling addictive prescription painkillers with warnings for expectant mothers.
Attorney General DeWine was one of 43 state and territorial attorneys general who signed a letter addressed to the FDA today calling for a "black box warning" on prescription painkiller packaging. The warning would alert pregnant women and their health care providers to the serious risks of narcotic drug use during pregnancy.
"A child born to a woman addicted to prescription drugs has a very high risk of being addicted as well," said Attorney General DeWine. "That infant doesn't have a choice in the matter, but we want to remind expectant mothers that they do."
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study found that approximately one infant was born every hour in the United States with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) caused by maternal opiate use. NAS is caused when infants suddenly lose their opioid drug supply at birth.
NAS includes the malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, respiratory system, and gastrointestinal tract. Signs of withdrawal in a child can include abnormal sleep patterns, tremors, vomiting, hyperactivity, and seizures.
"By simply adding the proposed warning to prescription painkiller packaging, we hope to educate women about the danger of these drugs and remind them that abusing painkillers during pregnancy could be extremely dangerous for their child," said DeWine.
Upon taking office in 2011, Attorney General DeWine made the fight against prescription drug abuse a priority. In that time, those with the Attorney General's Office have been involved in the permanent license revocation of more than two dozen doctors and pharmacists who improperly prescribed prescription medication, the conviction of 13 doctors, pharmacists, traffickers and associates, and the seizure of more than $1.67 million worth of prescription pills.
Attorney General DeWine also partnered with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance to provide free prescription drug collection bins to law enforcement agencies across the state as part of their Ohio Prescription Drug Drop Box Program.
A list of prescription drug drop box locations is available here
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840