At 2 p.m., Attorney General Pam Bondi will hold the first Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns meeting with Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and others.
The task force was created this year through legislation sponsored by state Sens. Joe Negron and Mike Fasano, and state Rep. Kelli Stargel. The bill was written to create a task force that would “examine and analyze the emerging problem of neonatal withdrawal syndrome as it pertains to prescription drugs,” according to Senate staff analysis (.pdf).
As my colleague Virginia Chamlee and I reported last November, while the Legislature was cracking down on “pill mills,” little was done to help babies who are born to women who are already drug-addicted.
Women who are pregnant and addicted to prescription medications face high-risk pregnancies and could have health complications that put their pregnancies at risk, too. Advocates have warned that simply cutting off prescription drugs for these women might do harm where it is not intended.
The bill requires the task force to submit a report of its recommendations by Jan. 15, 2013.