Substance Use in Maternal & Child Health

Prevention of Opiate Exposed Newborns


To develop a community partnership consisting of patients, researchers, and providers that deliver care and services to opiate-addicted mothers and their infants.

By facilitating community collaboration among the various groups that provide a complex web of care and support services to women and their infants, we can better understand the opportunities for preventing and reducing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).


This partnership will be created through monthly meetings to develop the following:
  • A communication and governance structure
  • A strategic plan to identify strategies to prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a narcotic withdrawal disorder affecting digestive, breathing, and nervous systems of newborn babies


The Tampa Bay Region has the largest number of opiate-exposed births in Florida, representing 400 of 1,800 opiate-exposed births in 2013—a fivefold increase over the past 10 years.

Pinellas County is one of the four counties that compose the Tampa Bay Region and is the targeted geographic area for this partnership.

The University of South Florida will begin by building partnerships with the Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas County, a home visitation program for pregnant women and infants; the three hospitals in Pinellas County that provide care to the mothers and infants through their neonatal intensive care units; Operation PAR, Inc., the primary methadone clinic serving Pinellas County; the Pinellas County Public Health Department; and patient stakeholders.

Currently, these groups informally communicate through referrals and individual relationships, but a formal structure has not yet been developed to target prevention of NAS.

Who We Are

Family & Community Research Council

Research Staff

  • Dr. Sheri Eisert, PhD Primary Investigator
  • Tiese Etim-Inyang Research Assistant

Funding Sources

Contact: Dr. Sheri Eisert -