Obama signs into law opioid addiction bill to protect newborns

With a stroke of President Obama's pen, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act became law on July 22. The measure seeks to address America's opioid crisis through treatment and overdose prevention but also includes special consideration for babies born addicted to the drugs.

With a stroke of President Obama's pen, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act became law on July 22. The measure seeks to address America's opioid crisis through treatment and overdose prevention but also includes special consideration for babies born addicted to the drugs. Specifically, it demands that all states and the federal government begin adhering to a 2003 mandate that hospitals and social services report, monitor, and assist drug-dependent infants and their families. Most states have ignored the requirement, leading to many unnecessary deaths among newborns discharged to families not in a position to care for them properly. The new act aims to rectify that with "safe care plans" that keep babies at home with their parents, who will get more help. Although the final bill sailed through the Senate and the House with almost no opposition, Obama and other Democrats are unhappy with the level of treatment funding included in the legislation overall.