Tennessee to Replicate Florida’s ‘Born Drug-Free’ Campaign

For Immediate Release: Feb. 11, 2015

Tennessee to Replicate Florida’s ‘Born Drug-Free’ Campaign
Florida’s successful campaign to prevent drug exposed newborns launches in Tennessee

TALLAHASSEE - Based on the success of the “Born Drug-Free Florida” campaign, East Tennessee Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Task Force this week launched a campaign to educate expectant mothers about the dangers of consuming alcohol, tobacco, illegal or prescription drugs during pregnancy.

“Our campaign has flourished since launching and I look forward to seeing Tennessee share the same success,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “We’re honored that they chose to adopt a cause we feel so passionate about. We share the same goal – to provide education and resources to expectant mothers struggling with substance misuse.”

Since the campaign launched in 2013, 1,000 women have reached out to the “Born Drug-Free Florida” hotline, with at least 200 expectant mothers beginning treatment.

“I am thrilled that Florida has served as a model for Tennessee in our shared efforts to protect babies in this rising epidemic,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said. “Educating expectant mothers on the dangers of prescription drugs is imperative in preventing babies being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.”

Replicating the “Born Drug-Free Florida” campaign, Tennessee has implemented a helpline and website (www.BornDrugFreeTN.com) with resources including videos and collateral materials for reprinting.

“Our ‘Born Drug-Free Florida’ campaign has been a major success for maternal and newborn health," State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John H. Armstrong said. “We’re pleased Tennessee is launching its new initiative with our model to help expectant mothers who may be struggling with narcotic drug dependency.” 

“Born Drug-Free Florida” is an initiative by the Department of Children and Families, Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Health to raise awareness about babies born exposed to prescription drugs. This initiative aims to reduce the number of newborns diagnosed with drug exposure, as approximately 7 out of every 1,000 Florida newborns born in 2011 were diagnosed with NAS.

“We can't thank Florida enough for allowing us to adapt their campaign to help us launch a similar program, to encourage pregnant women who are struggling with the disease of addiction to get help and have healthier pregnancies and to be nurturing mothers to their new babies,” Executive Director of the Metropolitan Drug Commission Karen Pershing said. “No one wakes up one day and decides they want to become an addict. By educating women that they can recover and be successful mothers, we have an opportunity to strengthen families. Florida had a tremendous response to their campaign and we are confident we will have a similar response in Tennessee.”

Newborns exposed to prescription drugs while in the womb may suffer from NAS, a painful withdrawal from the drugs after birth. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, abdominal pain, incessant crying and rapid breathing.

For more information about the “Born Drug-Free Florida” campaign, visit www.BornDrugFreeFL.com

Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, 850-717-4450