State data lacking when it comes to babies born addicted

Beginning in July, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will collect data about all babies born addicted to opioids.

The longstanding problem is that data are scarce about the number of babies born dependent on drugs, according to a joint WITF/ NPR story. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services [DHS] Secretary Ted Dallas said the department has relied on “reasonably good” estimates.

About 3,700 babies on Medicaid were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome between 2013 and 2014 in the state, according to WITF.

Facts about hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, affecting an estimated 3.2 million people. The virus mainly affects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.

It is transmitted when an infected person’s blood enters the bloodstream of another person. You should be tested if:

you were born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of other risk factors

you’ve used intravenous or intranasal drugs even once

you’ve engaged in anal intercourse or vigorous, unprotected sex with multiple partners

you had a transfusion of blood or blood products, like plasma, before 1992

you are or have been on hemodialysis

you got a tattoo or piercing in a non-sterile environment

you have sex or share personal care items, like a razor or toothbrush, with someone who has hepatitis C


To get tested:

Ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible for the hepatitis C antibody test. A few Southwest PA sites that screen for hepatitis C are:

Mercy Behavioral Health, 1200 Reedsdale St., Pittsburgh

Central Outreach, 1860 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh

Butler Community Health Clinic, 103 Bonnie Drive, Butler


To learn about prescription assistance programs, visit:

For Harvoni or Sovaldi,

For Viekira Pak,

For Olysio,


For more information on hepatitis C, visit:


Caring Ambassadors hepatitis C program:

CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis:

HCV Advocate:

Hepatitis C Association: