In 2004-13 "the rate of hospital deliveries complicated by the mother’s opioid use grew more than sixfold in rural areas, versus threefold in urban areas," Whalen writes. "Researchers looked at babies who were diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, a condition marked by painful withdrawal symptoms from narcotics, including tremors, high-pitched crying and seizures."
Researchers found that instances of NAS increased from 1.2 per every 1,000 hospital births in rural areas in 2004 to 7.5 in 2013, Whalen writes. During the same time NAS births in urban areas increased from 1.4 to 4.8. Hospital deliveries complicated by the mother’s opioid use grew from 1.3 to 8.1 in rural areas and from 1.6 to 4.8 in urban areas.