Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Eric Barth


The use of opioids has increased significantly in the last decade. Concern for the undertreatment of pain emerged in the mid-1990s, prompting providers to treat pain as a fifth vital sign. The pharmaceutical industry marketed their products as having significantly less abuse potential than reality. Prescriptions for pain medications soared with prescription opioids leading the way. Prescription opioids became ubiquitous in medicine cabinets and reports of abuse rose. Casually administered, illicit sale, theft, and doctor shopping became more common as reports of overdose also rose. By 2010, the United States government was issuing strategies to combat the opioid crisis.

People from all demographics were affected by the opioid crisis, including pregnant women and their fetuses. Use of opioids during pregnancy can lead to many complications, including neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) which results when an infant suffers withdrawal after cessation of gestational exposure to addictive substances like opioids. 2 Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) has long been the recommended treatment of choice for pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD).3 However, the use of opioids to combat the poor outcomes of opioids seems counterproductive. This study aims to explore if the use of medically assisted withdrawal and opioid detoxification are as effective as OAT in improving outcomes for fetuses born to women who were addicted to opiates during pregnancy.


SC 11.PAS.2019.Lee.KY

Included in

Pediatrics Commons