MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist, Dr. William Liu, at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, for years has raised concern about the record number of newborns being born physically addicted to opioids. Efforts to reduce the rates of newborn drug withdrawal — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) — have largely been unsuccessful. A statewide public education campaign in 2011 and 2012 had an impact, he said, but it was fleeting. “This reflects a significant, on-going challenge,” said Liu. “We saw locally, actually, a flattening of our NAS rates, but then it went back up.”

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