In this paper, we describe a population of mothers who are opioid dependent at the time of giving birth and neonates exposed to opioids in utero who experience withdrawal following birth. While there have been studies of national trends in this population, there remains a gap in studies of regional trends. Using data from the Arizona Department of Health Services Hospital Discharge Database, this study aimed to characterize the population of neonates with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) and mothers who were opioid dependent at the time of giving birth, in Arizona. We analyzed approximately 1.2 million electronic medical records from the Arizona Department of Health Services Hospital Discharge Database to identify patterns and disparities across socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and/or geographic groupings. In addition, we identified comorbid conditions that are differentially associated with NOWS in neonates or opioid dependence in mothers. Our analysis was designed to assess whether indicators such as race/ethnicity, insurance payer, marital status, and comorbidities are related to the use of opioids while pregnant. Our findings suggest that women and neonates who are non-Hispanic White and economically disadvantaged, tend be part of our populations of interest more frequently than expected. Additionally, women who are opioid dependent at the time of giving birth are unmarried more often than expected, and we suggest that marital status could be a proxy for support. Finally, we identified comorbidities associated with neonates who have NOWS and mothers who are opioid dependent not previously reported.
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