A U.S. Senator from Ohio is recognized for his work to combat the opioid crisis and specifically for how that affects babies born to addicted parents.
On Thursday, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) received the National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) Leadership Award.
Jane Portman, currently the chairman of the board of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, also received the award for her work to promote maternal and child health.
Officials explained in a press release, NOFAS strives to create a world where children are born free of exposure to alcohol, drugs, and other substances are known to harm fetal development by raising awareness and supporting women before and during their pregnancy, and supports individuals, families, and communities living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) and other preventable intellectual/developmental disabilities. Portman issued the following statement:
“Jane and I are honored to receive the National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) Leadership Award for our work to combat addiction. Together we have visited children’s hospitals throughout Ohio to see the devastating impact that fetal alcohol syndrome and neonatal abstinence syndrome is having on babies born in our state. The progress we’ve made in preventing fetal alcohol syndrome has helped inform our work to protect babies born dependent on opioids. And that’s why we pushed hard to enact CARA to help expectant and postpartum women struggling with addition and babies born dependent on drugs. While we’ve made progress here in Congress, much more must be done. Too many communities across Ohio and our country continue to be devastated by this opioid epidemic. On the local, state, and federal level, we need all hands on deck to help turn back the tide of addiction. I will continue to do my part here at the federal level to get those on the frontlines the tools and resources they need.”
The award also recognized Portman’s work to pass the Comprehensive Addiction & Recover Act, which was enacted into law last year, and includes provisions to help women and babies by expanding treatment for expectant and postpartum women, authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to ensure they have access to evidence-based treatment services. It also creates a pilot program for state substance abuse agencies that allows funds to be used to target women who are addicted to opiates and provide family-based services for women in non-residential settings.