Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
May 13, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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Attorney General Bondi and Senate President Haridopolos Meet with BayCare Health System Representatives on Effects of Maternal Prescription Drug Abuse on Newborns

TAMPA, Fla.–Today, Attorney General Pam Bondi along with Senate President Mike Haridopolos hosted a roundtable discussion with caretakers and administrators from St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital on the negative effects of maternal prescription drug abuse on newborns. BayCare Health System President Stephen Mason and St. Joseph’s-Baptist Health Care President/CEO Isaac Mallah were also in attendance.

“Seeing the effects of prescription drug abuse on innocent newborns and infants shows the far-reaching consequences of this serious epidemic facing Florida,” said Attorney General Bondi. “The infants we saw today do not have voices in the fight against prescription drug abuse; therefore it is our job to advocate on their behalf.”

At the roundtable discussion, caretakers and medical professionals described drug withdrawal symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and irritability. Many infants also experience trouble eating and sleeping. The participants also visited the neonatal intensive care unit where medical professionals could show the effects of maternal prescription drug abuse firsthand.

This legislative session, Attorney General Bondi supported new laws containing tougher criminal and administrative penalties for those over-prescribing prescription drugs. These new laws, along with implementation of the prescription drug monitoring program are necessary tools to adequately equip law enforcement to stop the proliferation of prescription drug distribution and abuse in Florida.