Over the last decade, opioid use in the United States and Tennessee has rapidly increased, causing an alarming number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). According to the Tennessee Department of Health, in 2016, 991 babies were born with NAS in Tennessee. NAS occurs when pregnant women take prescription medications or other drugs, and their baby is born drug-dependent. The withdrawal symptoms may include fever, seizures, continuous crying, rapid breathing, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

In 2015, Tennessee declared October as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Awareness Month. Last year, Metro Drug Coalition (MDC), along with other state coalitions, organized and participated in Pearls and Bowties for Babies, a social media awareness campaign for NAS. MDC is promoting Pearls and Bowties for Babies as a statewide campaign this year with over 40 organizations from Bristol to Memphis participating. MDC encourages you to invite your family, friends and coworkers to participate and post their photos on social media on October 6 using the hashtag #NASMonthTN. Have some fun with your posts! Take pictures as an office staff, get creative with your bowties or even have your pets and babies in the picture! The options are limitless!

A suggested post could be as simple as, “A baby’s life shouldn’t begin with detox. I’m wearing my pearls/bowtie today to support NAS awareness in TN. #NASMonthTN”

Want to know more about NAS and how to bring more awareness to your community? Visit borndrugfreetn.com for more information. We look forward to seeing your photos on Friday, October 6! Thank you for joining us in creating a healthy and safe community, free of substance abuse.