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Press Room

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2013

Attorneys General Call For Black Box Warning On Prescription Pain Relievers to Protect Newborns

May 13, 2013

Washington, DC---The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) today sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging it to require a ‘black box warning’ on prescription pain relieversto alert pregnant women that the use of such drugs may cause Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). NAS is caused when infants who have been exposed to opioids* through their mother’s use during pregnancy suddenly lose their drug supply at birth. Signs of withdrawal in infants can include tremors, vomiting, and hyperactivity. NAS cases are rising nationwide at an alarming rate.

“As the use of prescription opioid analgesics increases, so do the instances of NAS,” reads the NAAG letter signed by 43 state and territorial attorneys general. “We therefore believe that a ‘black box warning’ for these medications would help ensure that women of childbearing age – as well as their health care providers – are aware of the serious risks associated with narcotic use during pregnancy.”

A copy of the NAAG letter can be found here: http://www.naag.org/sign-on_archive.php.

Attorneys general remain in the forefront of combating the prescription abuse epidemic by sponsoring prescription drug-take back efforts and spearheading legislative and law enforcement initiatives in their respective jurisdictions.

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*Opioid analgesics relieve pain without causing loss of consciousness. Codeine, hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin) and oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin, Percocet) fall into this medication class.

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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