Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has asked the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to begin labeling addictive prescription painkillers with
warnings for expectant mothers.
DeWine was one of 43 state and territorial attorneys
general who signed a letter addressed to the FDA calling for a
"black box warning" on prescription painkiller packaging. The
warning would alert pregnant women, and their health care providers, to the
serious risks of narcotic drug use during pregnancy.
"A child born to a woman addicted to prescription drugs has a very high
risk of being addicted as well," explained DeWine. "That infant doesn't have a choice in the matter, but we want to remind
expectant mothers that they do."
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study found
that approximately one infant was born every hour in the U.S. with
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome caused by maternal opiate use. NAS is
caused when infants suddenly lose their opioid drug supply at birth. It includes the malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, respiratory
system, and gastrointestinal tract. Signs of withdrawal in a child can
include abnormal sleep patterns, tremors, vomiting, hyperactivity, and
"By simply adding the proposed warning to prescription painkiller
packaging, we hope to educate women about the danger of these drugs and remind
them that abusing painkillers during pregnancy could be extremely dangerous for
their child," said DeWine.
Upon taking office in 2011, DeWine made the fight against
prescription drug abuse a priority. In that time, those with the Attorney
General's Office have been involved in the permanent license revocation of more
than two dozen doctors and pharmacists who improperly prescribed prescription
medication, the conviction of 13 doctors, pharmacists, traffickers and
associates, and the seizure of more than $1.67 million worth of prescription
DeWine also partnered with the Ohio Department of Health and Drug Free Action Alliance to provide free prescription drug collection bins
to law enforcement agencies across the state as part of the Ohio Prescription
Drug Drop Box Program.