National WIC Association

Press Release: National WIC Association Lauds Bipartisan Legislation Supporting WIC Families Affected by Opioid Epidemic

November 26, 2019

Rev. Greenaway: “The opioid epidemic is a public health emergency. Affected WIC families and WIC clinic staff know this first hand.”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contact: Natalie Moran

Email: nmoran@nwica.org

 

WASHINGTON – Last Thursday, Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the bipartisan bill Supporting Healthy Outcomes for Mothers and Infants Act of 2019 to support mothers and their infants who are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).

This legislation would provide $1 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop materials on opioid abuse for WIC clinics.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Remove stigmatizing language in the Child Nutrition Act related to substance use disorder
  • Instruct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of Agriculture to collaborate in the development of evidence-based nutrition education materials for WIC-eligible pregnant women and caregivers to infants impacted by NAS  
  • Ensure WIC conducts outreach to those who may be eligible for the program and are impacted by substance use disorder
  • Make any nutrition education and training materials developed available to state agencies through an online clearinghouse

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in praise of the bipartisan bill:

“The opioid epidemic is a public health emergency. Affected WIC families and WIC clinic staff know this first hand. Opioid use during pregnancy can inhibit infant growth, with some infants demonstrating symptoms of withdrawal upon birth. WIC clinics screen for signs of withdrawal and counsel participants on appropriate breastfeeding and nutrition strategies to mitigate the effects of opioid use on infant development. They work to support pregnant women and new mothers with appropriate education and referrals. This bipartisan legislation is an important step in strengthening WIC’s work to meet the unique nutritional needs of families affected by opioid use.”

 

The National WIC Association applauds this bipartisan group of legislators for working to equip WIC agencies to join the fight against opioid use.

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