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NAS information doesn’t need released

Neonatal abstinence syndrome — NAS — is a clinical term for the heart-rending problem of babies born addicted to drugs as a result of their mothers’ substance abuse. There may be as many as 4,000 West Virginia children who came into the world with NAS.

Now, a group of attorneys is asking a Kanawha County judge to give them the children’s names. The lawyers want to contact them and/or their families, to notify them they may be eligible for compensation from a drug company.

Obviously, such information is confidential under the law. Yet should not the NAS sufferers and their families be made aware of existing litigation under which they might benefit?

One wonders why the attorneys waited so long. The case in question is bankruptcy proceedings against Purdue Pharma, which have been going on for many months. The deadline for filing claims against the firm is Friday.

State officials who have the names can notify the NAS families as quickly as can the law firm — and should attempt to do so. But handing over the names to a law firm would be an invasion of privacy and should be rejected.

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