First Lady Points to New HHS Opioid Resources in ‘Be Best’ Spirit

Melania Trump, opioid
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Washington, DC

First lady Melania Trump emphasized protecting the “most vulnerable” on Monday, issuing a statement in support of new Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) information on accessing state help for treating babies born to opioid-addicted mothers.

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released information on how states can cover the cost of treating babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS),” the first lady said in a statement released Monday. She explained, “NAS occurs when babies are exposed to opioids or other addictive drugs during pregnancy, and then experience painful withdrawal symptoms during their first few weeks of life.”

The statement linked to new HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance on leveraging a Medicare program in efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. CMS estimates that as of 2012, every 25 minutes an infant in America was born with NAS. Approximately 80 percent received treatment through Medicaid. Acting Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Tim Hill said the number of children being born with NAS is growing rapidly.

“It is our responsibility to do all we can to ensure our most vulnerable are protected,” said the first lady, who recalled her trip last year to Lily’s Place. She previously mentioned visiting Lily’s Place as she unveiled her official “Be Best” policy platform last month. The West Virginia non-profit offers “addiction recovery treatment” for all members of families. 

“‘Be Best’ is dedicated to bringing attention to successful programs like Lily’s Place because our nation needs more programs like these to help struggling Americans,” said Mrs. Trump, who added that she is “proud to support HHS in its continued efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.”

She nudged states, hospital groups, and nonprofits to visit the HHS CMS resource page online for information on “benefits and waivers available to help these babies and their parents.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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