Bloomberg Law
Feb. 25, 2021, 5:00 PM

In Birth and Death, Opioid Crisis to Leave Mark Long After Covid

Valerie Bauman
Valerie Bauman
Senior Investigative Reporter
Ian Lopez
Ian Lopez
Senior Reporter

With opioid deaths soaring under the veil of Covid-19, front-line health workers expect the rate of babies born dependent on drugs are rising alongside them, creating huge financial and societal costs that will last decades beyond the pandemic.

The national rate of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome was rising prior to the pandemic—82% from 2010 to 2017. While data from the pandemic period hasn’t kept up, many front-line workers say they’ve seen the problem worsening during Covid-19.

In 2016, NAS hospitalizations cost $573 million, with Medicaid covering 83%. That doesn’t account for long-term costs associated with life-long issues afflicting ...

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