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November 18, 2021

Trone introduces legislation to support mothers and infants affected by opioid epidemic

Credit: The Garrett County Republican

WASHINGTON  — U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-Md., has introduced H.R. 5934, the bipartisan Supporting Healthy Mothers and Infants Act of 2021, to support mothers and their infants who are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Trone was joined by Reps. Kathy Manning, D-N.C.; Annie Kuster, D-N.H.; Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.; and Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.

This legislation improves the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children to better respond to the devastating effect the opioid epidemic has had on women and newborns. Since 2002, the incidence of NAS, which includes a number of symptoms babies experience when they undergo withdrawal from opioids in the days after birth, has increased five-fold.

“Addiction is a disease, but far too often it’s perceived as a moral failing. For expectant mothers suffering from substance use disorder, this stigma only makes matters worse,” said Trone, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. “The Supporting Healthy Mothers and Infants Act will provide women much-needed resources to help protect their child’s health during their pregnancy. It couldn’t be simpler: this bill will save lives.”

Specifically, the Supporting Healthy Mothers and Infants Act of 2021:

— Removes stigmatizing language in the Child Nutrition Act related to substance use disorder;

— Instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Agriculture to collaborate in the development of evidence-based nutrition education materials for WIC-eligible pregnant women and caregivers to infants impacted by NAS;

— Ensures WIC conducts outreach to those who may be eligible for the program and are impacted by substance use disorder; and

— Makes any nutrition education and training materials developed available to state agencies through an online clearinghouse.

This bill is endorsed by National WIC Association, 1,000 Days, Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, Coalition on Human Needs, MomsRising, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, March of Dimes, National Association of Counties, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, and Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.