Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome addressed at Anishinabek Nation Health Conference – Anishinabek News

November 14, 2023

NORTH BAY – Dr. Astrid Guttmann, a general paediatrician and Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, and her team spoke about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and leveraging community strengths to address prenatal opioid exposure at the 9th annual Anishinabek Nation Health Conference on Oct. 18 in North Bay, Ont.

Prenatal opioid exposure and neonatal abstinence syndrome have had a big impact on First Nations. Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Child-Bright Network are working together with 13 First Nations in the lower half of Ontario. This project came about when communities raised concerns about the health of school-aged children with prenatal opioid exposure.

The project’s goal is to build strong relationships with First Nations while gathering and sharing community and culturally-specific information about the impacts of prenatal opioid exposure and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Opioids are drugs that are used primarily to treat pain. They can be attained by getting a prescription (Codeine, Fentanyl patch, Morphine, Oxycodone, etc.) or non-prescription (Heroin, Fentanyl). Synthetic opioids can be 50-100 times more potent than morphine.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an opioid crisis in Canada and a substantial increase in prenatal opioid exposure,” says Dr. Guttmann.

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