NAS: The Intentional Infliction of Serious Harm to Child Health

Subject: Public Health
Pages: 1
Words: 288
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

A neonatal abstinence syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur in a newborn child due to the cessation of the intake of narcotic substances into the body in the womb. There are two main types of NAS – prenatal and postpartum. In my opinion, both of these types should be attributed to child abuse, since they represent deliberately harming a child.

Child abuse includes any form of mistreatment tolerated by parents. There are four main forms of child abuse: physical, sexual, and mental violence, and neglect of the basic needs of the child. Physical violence, the results of which should include NAS, is the deliberate infliction of physical damage to a child. There are several obvious signs of child abuse, in the presence of which it is necessary to inform law enforcement agencies immediately. In most cases, children of drug addicts are born with various pathologies and with congenital dependence on drugs. According to statistics, 86% of children born have congenital malformations and malformations, including NAS (Lynch et al., 2018). Children of drug addicts often get sick; their immune system is very weakened. The child’s body, accustomed to the drug in the womb, will constantly require the usual component after birth. The child feels withdrawal because the mother shared the drug with them even before their birth. Thus, neonatal abstinence syndrome can be attributed to physical effects.

The legislation establishes several types of liability for persons who commit child abuse. In my opinion, the use of narcotic substances by the mother before or after childbirth, as a result of which the child develops NAS, is the intentional infliction of serious harm to health. The legislation provides for criminal liability for this type of physical abuse of children.


Lynch, S., Sherman, L., Snyder, S. M., & Mattson, M. (2018). Trends in infants reported to child welfare with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Children and Youth Services Review, 86(12), 135-141.