- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The number of babies born drug dependent in Tennessee’s eastern region dropped in 2016, even as numbers across the state continued to rise.

WBIR-TV reports data show the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome dropped by 12 percent from 2015 to 2016 in eastern parts of the state. Knox County saw an 18 percent reduction in the number of babies born drug dependent, the first decrease since 2013.

Karen Pershing with the Metro Drug Coalition says community partnerships and educational campaigns have destigmatized the issue.

State substance abuse services assistant commissioner Dr. Stephen Loyd credits University of Tennessee Medical Center research with a shift in treatment, after UTMC said detox during pregnancy significantly improves health of the baby at birth.

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Information from: WBIR-TV, http://www.wbir.com/

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