Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – A Utah congressman introduced a bill that will will create a study on the impact of opioid use and addiction during pregnancy.
About 24 Utahns die every single month from an opioid overdose.
People from all walks of life are at risk, and Representative John Curtis says there’s reason to be alarmed about those who are using opioids during pregnancy.
“We actually double the national average of women in their pregnancies that are using opioids that are being prescribed to them,” said Curtis, (R) Utah.
That’s what lead him to introduce the POPPY Study Act. The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to research and report back on the issue.
They’ll look at things like current prescribing practices, misuse during pregnancy, non-opiate alternatives and more.
“Why are there so many? Why is Utah so much higher? And, what can we do about it? That’s what we are looking for, is answers to these questions,” said Curtis.
State representative and family physician Ray Ward encounters the battle on the front lines.
He says it can be dangerous for mother and baby. Especially, if she turns to heroin, which often happens with opioid addiction.
“An overdose that kills a woman, would kill the baby. An overdose that damages a woman, would damage the baby. Infections that you got from heroin use, would put the baby at risk. All those things are very dangerous,” said Ward.
He says Representative Curtis’ bill is a good step in taking on a big problem.
“There’s important, unanswered scientific questions about what is the best care for a woman in that situation, and what are the long-term implications for the baby, and all those we need better answers to,” said Ward.
This is one of many bills being introduced to address the opioid addiction crisis in our country.
Representatives Bishop, Love and Stewart have signed on as co-sponsors.