Pearls and Bowties for Babies: October is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Awareness Month

October is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Awareness Month, and Tennessee has a long way to go in battling this problem. Babies born with NAS have a set of withdrawal symptoms as a result of prenatal exposure to prescription drugs or heroin. 

Statistics from the Tennessee Departement of Health are grim. Since January 1st of this year:

  • 565 babies have been born with NAS
  • 23.9 out of 1,000 births in East Tennessee have NAS symptoms
  • In 72% of cases, at least one of the substances causing NAS was prescribed to the mother by a health care provider

To raise awareness, the Metro Drug Coalition wants you to wear “Pearls and Bowties for Babies” on Friday, October 6th. Over 40 organizations are participating, including LeConte Medical Center

Doctors and Nurses Wearing Pearls and Bowties
The Dolly Parton Birthing Unit wearing bowties and pearls

Snap your photo, and post to social media using the hashtag #NASMonthTN. A suggested post could be as simple as, “A baby’s life shouldn’t begin with detox. I’m wearing my pearls/bowtie today to support NAS awareness in TN. #NASMonthTN.” 

If you are a local mother looking for help, the “Day One Women’s Recovery Support Group” meets at LeConte Medical Center in the classrooms (across from the cafeteria) every Monday night from 6pm to 7:30pm. This group, sponsored by HEAL, is led by Jennifer Maddron, MD, and is a safe place for women who struggle with addiction. For information, please call 423-435-6585. 


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