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The Problem

Our Generation's Epidemic

Baby in ICU

An estimated 5.6 million child bearing age women dependent on drugs/opioids and/or alcohol are having unintended pregnancies resulting in their child being damaged in utero for life requiring lifelong medical, mental, social and other special services.

Our Nation's Largest Current EPIDEMIC Finds 
An Impacted Child Born Every Minute.

March of Dimes Peristats logo

The goal of the Perinatal Data Center is to clearly present perinatal data, so that professionals focused on issues related to maternal and infant health can make more informed decisions to ultimately improve mom and baby health.

Arkansas Preterm Birth Grade: F
US Preterm Birth Grade: D+
Tennesse Preterm Birth Grade: D

Surgo’s Maternal Vulnerability Index (MVI)

Surgo’s MVI measures 6 factors: Reproductive healthcare, Physical health, Mental health and substance abuse, General healthcare, Socioeconomic determinants, and Physical environment. High Scores are bad.

Surgo Maternal Vulnerability Index - US Map Showing Maternal Vulnerability
Comparison between Arkansas (96.0) and Tennessee (86.0)
Maternal  Vulnerability Scale for Map

Drug Death Rate Growth Compared to 
Family’s Alcohol and Opioid Use Epidemic

Over 107,621 deaths in 2020 were attributed to Drugs/Opioids

Two out of three children under the age of one taken into foster care in TN in 2019 were removed from their homes due to Drug and Alcohol abuse in the family (66.8%)

Graph: Total Overdose Deaths
Graph: % of Children Under Age One with Parental Alcohol or Drug Abuse as an Identified Condition of Removal

In AR and TN, two out of three children under the age of one placed in foster care were removed from their homes due to Drug and Alcohol abuse

US Map showing percent of children under age of one placed in foster care due to drug and alcohol abuse at home logo

Only a fraction of these children are taken into state custody – many times more are raised by family and friends.

Tennessee: Children raised by family and friends
Arkansas: Children raised by family and friends

Our Generation's Epidemic
A Challenge for All of Us

Drug-Exposed Children and their Foster Care Parents Face Major Lifelong Challenges
Video from NBC News affiliate: WVLT in Knoxville, TN

Impact on Schools

Seattle Times logo

The opioid crisis comes to the classroom as soaring numbers of children born in drug withdrawal reach school age.

May 24, 2019 at 6:00 am

Updated May 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm

A troubling surge

Research shows a link between infants born in withdrawal from opioids and developmental disabilities requiring referral to special education, once children reach school age. The period from 2006 to 2012 saw a 40% spike in the rate of Washington maternal substance abuse diagnoses. Nationally, the increase was 33%.

Graph: Washington Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

A Multifaceted, Multi-Billion-Dollar Problem.

The Untold Cost of Drug & Alcohol Pregnancies by TN’s Comptroller

Tennessee’s Comptroller says this problem

will have a real serious financial situation … and almost certainly are looking at substantially and I mean substantially, multiples of our current rates of taxation.

Impacted Agencies

This Is A Multi-Billion
Dollar Problem.

A Conservative Estimate Of The
Financial Impact
Is Like Our Governments Taking Out
A New
$2.1 Trillion Mortgage Every Year.

Each First Year's Payment Is
$118 Billion. *

Medicaid Women Age 19-41 = 19,541,549
Total Births = 1,506,889
Number using Drugs & Alcohol = 5,527,986
Total Medicaid Women having an Impacted Pregnancy = 433,985

Agencies spending Federal and State dollars

  • Medicaid

  • Dept of Children’s Services 

  • Dept of Corrections 

  • Dept of Education (including BEP) 

  • Dept of Health 

  • Dept of Human Services 

  • Dept of Intellectual and Development Disabilities 

  • Dept of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services 

  • Administrative Office of the Courts 

  • Office of Criminal Justice Programs 

  • CoverKids 

  • Commission on Children and Youth

  • … and more 

* Numerical and statistical information derived from the CDC, National Institute of Health (NIH Pub-med), individual state reports and the Census Bureau. 
Financial estimates are calculated based on $250,000 first year costs and $4,250,000 for years 2-18.

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