Help end overprescription of opioids to pregnant mothers

Help end overprescription of opioids to pregnant mothers

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Karunya Iyappan started this petition to Doctors' associations and

As of 2014, doctors prescribed opioids to more than 14% of pregnant women for pain during pregnancy. This has contributed to the dramatic rise in maternal opioid use. Maternal opioid use is associated with higher costs for hospitals, and higher risk of preterm birth and neonatal abstinence syndrome among babies. Pregnant women are taking more prescription drugs, including opioids, than during any time in the past few decades (Louis, 2014). This has contributed to the rise of pregnant mothers misusing opioids during and after pregnancy, endangering mother and infant health. Current lack of awareness and consensus on this issue contribute to its negative consequences.

The most underlying reason for high maternal opioid use in the US is the lack of scientific, consistent information among all stakeholders. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to build policy solutions that address the problem in the first place. As a result of this, many side effects to this information gap emerge in society.

We propose that doctors' organizations and health policymakers work together to create a deliberative poll effort. The purpose of a deliberative poll is to take into account the preferences and opinions of citizens before and after exposure to information and differing views on a specific topic. By doing so, deliberative polling allows for a representative depiction of what public opinion on a particular issue would be if citizens were well informed. One of the most widespread issues with maternal opioid usage is that the possible consequences of its use are widely debated among the scientific community. A lack of consensus regarding the effect of opioids on fetuses, pre and post partum, makes it difficult to discern whether or not there is a certain risk to babies. Therefore, it is difficult to make well informed policy decisions that curtail the prescriptions of maternal opioids when there is a large discrepancy among medical professionals’ opinions. With data regarding what the general consensus among the medical community is, government officials can create more informed policies on maternal opioid prescription. 

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