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Comment & Response
August 21, 2018

Stigmatizing Language About Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
  • 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill
JAMA. 2018;320(7):723. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7820

To the Editor We have concerns with both factual assertions and language choices in the article by Dr Cuneo.1

First, we dispute the assertion that in utero drug exposure or NAS has been proven to cause long-term neurocognitive deficits. The study cited in the opinion piece supposedly demonstrating the effect of NAS on neurocognitive development2 has been challenged because the “conclusion is not supported by the methodological approach, potentially leading to inaccurate perceptions by the public and policymakers.”3 A recent methodologically rigorous study followed children of mothers receiving methadone or buprenorphine prenatally for 3 years and found no adverse effects on growth, cognitive development, language, sensory processing, or temperament, regardless of the presence of NAS in the child.4

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