Presenter and Co-Authors

Anna BurnsFollow


College of Health Sciences


Health Services Research

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Master of Public Health

Publication Date





Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a preventable condition that newborn children may experience as a result of in utero exposure to certain toxic substances such as opioids, alcohol, sedatives, and barbiturates. The syndrome develops in approximately 55-99 percent of children who are exposed to these substances. Symptoms of NAS may include respiratory distress, irritability, difficulty feeding, and seizures. Research indicates that mothers who receive treatment and support during pregnancy have a better prognosis for recovery from addiction, which improves neonate outcomes. Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is currently working on improving their NAS Surveillance System. The surveillance system helps to estimate the number of children born with NAS in Virginia and to identify high risk mothers and children who may benefit from local services and resources. Up to date, there is no state-level interventions for NAS prevention exists in Virginia. The overall goals of this project are to (1) conduct a comprehensive NAS needs assessment by conducting a literature review and using exiting department data and (2) to plan a public health intervention that would address NAS prevention needs among at risk pregnant women who live in Virginia.



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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Virginia: Supporting Pregnant Women Impacted by Opioid and Other Substance Use