Opioid Justice Team: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome babies seek funds from Purdue emergency fund

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Child Health News
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The Judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Purdue, one of the prescription opioid manufacturers, has urged the expedited release of an emergency fund that may total millions of dollars, and attorneys representing babies born addicted to opioids due to their mother's in-utero exposure finally see some hope for these children's care, said Counsel Scott Bickford.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- The Judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Purdue, one of the prescription opioid manufacturers, has urged the expedited release of an emergency fund that may total millions of dollars, and attorneys representing babies born addicted to opioids due to their mother's in-utero exposure finally see some hope for these children's care, said Counsel Scott Bickford.

The needs of the most innocent victims of America's prescription opioid epidemic – babies harmed in the womb by opioid exposure that require years of subsequent medical care and rehabilitative therapy – have been represented in more than 34 class actions filed by attorneys led by Mr. Bickford. Now, Mr. Bickford and his colleagues, attorneys Donald Creadore and Kent Harrison Robbins, are recognized by United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain following their formation of an Ad Hoc Committee for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) babies. Judge Drain's recent actions are giving these families and others like them some optimism their children's needs may finally be addressed, these attorneys say.

Before the $3 million-a-month legal and professional fee bills of Purdue can be paid from the estate, Judge Drain ordered that a "substantial" portion of Debtor's cash-on-hand be directed to victims of the nation's prescription opioid crisis immediately. Attorneys for the Ad Hoc Committee for NAS Babies believe these actions will give thousands of opioid-disabled children an opportunity to have some of their immediate medical and non-medical needs addressed.    

Babies with NAS are infants born to mothers taking opioids during pregnancy. Since 1997, nearly 750,000 American children have been born to mothers taking opioids while pregnant, and nearly half of them will confront a host of profound life-long learning disabilities and developmental defects, deformities and disorders commonly associated with in-utero opioid exposure, Mr. Bickford said.    

The Ad Hoc Committee for NAS Babies also estimates that medical costs, alone, associated with NAS Babies will likely surpass $125,000 per child on average.

"As of 2010, more than a third of birth mothers were prescribed opioids," said Mr. Bickford. Mr. Bickford said the Ad Hoc Committee for NAS Babies estimates the damages and lifelong care of these NAS children likely places this unique group at the top of the list of creditors.

"Both in terms of victim numbers and, separately, the type and extent of injuries suffered by these children, NAS claims exceed those of all other known creditors in the Purdue bankruptcy proceedings," he said. In contrast, fee-seeking professionals represent a very small fraction of the expected creditors, according to the Ad Hoc Committee for NAS Babies.

 

SOURCE Opioid Justice Team



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