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How best to treat opioids’ youngest sufferers? No one knows

February 14, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. health authorities are grappling with how to deal with the opioid epidemic’s youngest patients. A surge in infants born with withdrawal symptoms from their mothers’ opioid use has outpaced science on how best to treat them.

Hospitals have a scattershot approach to treating their tremors, hard-to-soothe crying, diarrhea and other hallmark signs of newborn abstinence syndrome. And there are gaps in knowledge about risks they may face later on.

A new government-funded study aims to find some answers. With help from $1 million in National Institutes of Health funding, researchers are seeking to identify practices that could lead to a national treatment standard. A rigorous study comparing treatments and outcomes in hard-hit areas could start by the end of this year.

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