McMorris Rodgers Introduces the MIRACLE Act to Save the Lives of Drug-Dependent Babies

Jul 09, 2024
Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced H.R. 8905, the Maddie’s Infant Recovery and Children’s Legislative Emergency (MIRACLE) Act, to better understand the prevalence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), a group of conditions that can occur when newborns withdraw from certain substances, including opioids, that they were exposed to before birth.

Specifically, the MIRACLE Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a study on the prevalence of NAS that Congress and states like Washington can use to address the root cause of the issue and save the lives of mothers and their newborns struggling with addiction. This legislation was inspired by Maddie’s Place, a Spokane-based Pediatric Transitional Care Facility treating infants with NAS. 

“Our country is in the midst of a devastating opioid crisis that is tearing apart families and taking too many innocent lives. My heart breaks at the growing number of babies being born with NAS, which is a tragic reminder of the work we still have before us to restore hope and healing in our communities,” said Rodgers. “Thankfully, we have wonderful people in our community like Shaun Cross and everyone at Maddie’s Place who are leading the way to care for mothers and infants struggling with addiction, and it’s time for Congress to step up and help. The MIRACLE Act is a necessary first step that will better equip us with the research and data we need to reverse this trend and save the lives of the most vulnerable infants and mothers.”

According to 2020 data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), 6 of every 1,000 babies are born with NAS in the United States, which is 1 every 24 minutes. Within 72 hours of birth, these babies begin to experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms from the substances they were exposed to. Despite the frequency and severity of NAS, little data is currently available to assist in their treatment, leaving many infants untreated and at risk of serious long-term harm. There is a growing concern that the prevalence of NAS in our communities far exceeds the most recent CDC data, which needs to be updated to more accurately reflect the current reality of the Opioid Crisis, especially post-fentanyl.

“The opioid crisis in the United States is having a profound, but little understood, impact on the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society – infants who are born dependent on drugs. These newborn children suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which is accompanied by life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal from the substances they were exposed to during pregnancy,” said Shaun Cross, President and CEO of Maddie’s Place. “Unfortunately, there is an insufficient amount of accurate or up-to-date research on the prevalence of NAS in the U.S., particularly since fentanyl took over our streets and found its way into our homes. The goal with the MIRACLE Act is simple – ensure Congress and all 50 states have the life-saving data they need to come up with the comprehensive solutions we need to reverse this crisis that is completely out of hand.”

About Maddie’s Place

Maddie’s Place is a Spokane-based 501(c)3 non-profit, free-standing recovery nursery for babies experiencing withdrawal due to prenatal substance exposure. The organization believes that low-intervention, highly nurturing care is the best way to help babies through this difficult time. They also believe that “mom is the best medicine” and aim to support moms and babies together, encouraging bonding and attachment and alleviating physical symptoms. 

About Shaun Cross

Shaun is a 4th generation native of Eastern Washington and one of 10 Cross lawyers who have practiced law in Washington State over the past 130 years. Shaun has served as the Founding Chairman and CEO of Maddie’s Place since he incorporated Maddie’s in March 2018. Fueled by a love for the Spokane Region and for people generally, Shaun has a passion for Maddie’s mission to assist babies born dependent on substances and their moms who too often are trapped in a cycle of despair. During his life, Shaun has seen the effects of addiction on members of his extended family and some of his closest friends. Shaun sees Maddie’s Place as an opportunity to provide love and serve some of the most innocent and helpless in our community.

CLICK HERE to read the full text of the MIRACLE Act.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Maddie’s Place.


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