What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)?

Ashley DeMoss |Program Support Technician Sr. | NAS Outreach

Norfolk Dept. of Public Health – NAS Outreach Materials

NAS Booklet (English) NAS Brochure (English) NAS Flyer (English)

NAS is a group of withdrawal symptoms that a baby may experience if he or she was exposed to opioids during pregnancy. These withdrawal symptons can include: high-pitched crying, shaking, sneezing/yawning, troubling feeding, trouble sleeping, and vomiting/diarrhea.

*These symptoms can appear hours to days after birth.

What are opioids?

Opioids are prescription or non-prescription drugs that are used to relieve pain. This class of drugs includes:

  • oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin

This does not included other painkillers such as:

  • Ibuprofen (Motrin)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Aspirin

*Please ask you doctor if you are unsure if a medication/drug you are taking is an opioid.

How is a baby diagnosed with NAS?

The nurse will use a scoring system and check on your baby every 1 to 4 hours to see if he or she is showing any signs of withdrawal. He or she will give your baby a point for each sign that is observed. Scores range from 0 to 62 and if your baby has a score of 8 or higher, he or she may need extra care

What can a mother do to help her baby?

Maintain a quiet environment.

Consider breastfeeding.

Promote bonding by laying your baby on your unclothes chest.

Where can a mother go to find resources for herself and her baby?

First, your primary care doctor, pediatrician, dentists, and licensed counselors. There are many agencies and healthcare offices that can provide mothers and babies with helpful tools such as:

Community Services Boards-

  • Norfolk (757)823-1600
  • Virginia Beach (757)385-0888
  • Portsmouth (757)393-5357
  • Chesapeake (757)547-9334
  • Suffolk (757)656-6303
  • Hampton/Newport News (757)788-0200

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Centers

  • CleanSlate (833)505-4673

Peer Recovery Support Groups

  • NA (Narcotics Anonymous) (866)972-5055
  • AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) (757)490-3980

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)

  • Norfolk (757)683-9280
  • Virginia Beach (757)683-2735
  • Portsmouth (757)393-5340
  • Chesapeake (757)382-2651
  • Suffolk (757)514-4700
  • Hampton (757)224-5007
  • Newport News (757)247-2184