News & Events

Opioid Litigation and Maternal-Child Health—Investing in the Future

Long-term structural investments beginning in pregnancy and extending through early childhood will pay societal dividends for generations to come. Settlements from the lawsuits filed against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and prescribers should preferentially invest in pregnant women and infants prenatally, at birth, and throughout the first year.

Many States Prosecute Pregnant Women for Drug Use. New Research Says That’s a Bad Idea.

In November, a California woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby and admitted to using methamphetamine while she was pregnant was charged with murder. The case touched a nerve, igniting a debate over whether mothers should be held accountable for their drug use or treated with compassion for their addictions.

Project seeks to enhance opioid care for infants

The number of opioid-exposed infants who were connected, along with their families, to outside resources upon discharge from the hospital surged in a recent six-month pilot. The initiative tracked the effect of a checklist designed to streamline and prioritize referrals among an infant’s hospital care team, according to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study.

Team Hope collects 35 pounds of medication at ‘Take Back Day’ event

About 35 pounds of over-the-counter and prescription medication were collected on April 12 at a Drug Take Back event hosted by Team Hope, in collaboration with the Tennessee Poison Center and Vanderbilt University Police Department. Team Hope will host another take back event in October, continuing its initiative to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way of disposing of prescriptions, educate the public about medication abuse, and raise awareness about permanent collection boxes around campus.

Opioid-dependent newborns in my West Virginia hometown point to a path out of drug crisis

Higher rates of newborn drug withdrawal shadowed communities experiencing economic decline. Solving the opioid crisis involves more than health care. On a recent fall day, I became reacquainted with the unmistakable beauty of my West Virginia hometown. Bluefield is tucked in a valley with Big Walker Mountain setting its southeastern border, and nearly everywhere you look is breathtaking.

Tennessee Issues First Maternal Mortality Report

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health today issued the first Maternal Mortality Review report, Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review of 2017 Maternal Deaths. This report describes the state of maternal mortality in Tennessee based on a comprehensive review of deaths of women who died while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy. The goal of this effort by the Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review Committee is to identify opportunities for preventing maternal deaths and promoting women’s health.

Long-term Unemployment Linked to Increase in Babies Born with Drug Withdrawal

Babies born after being exposed to opioids before birth are more likely to be delivered in regions of the U.S. with high rates of long-term unemployment and lower levels of mental health services, according to a study from researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the RAND Corporation. Studying more than 6.3 million births in a diverse group of eight states, the study found that rural counties plagued by long-term unemployment had significantly higher rates of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome as compared to urban counties with lower unemployment rates.

Vanderbilt Study Spots Economic Link With Drug-Dependent Newborns

Places with high rates of joblessness also seem to have outsized problems with drug-dependent newborns. That's the central finding in a new Vanderbilt study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday. Researchers looked at 6.2 million births across eight states, including Tennessee. And for those exposed to opioids in the womb, the map matches up very closely to long-term unemployment rates.