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Rate of Newborns Born Addicted to Opiates Triples

May 30, 2013 - 3 comments


It’s of course heartbreaking to watch anyone battle prescription painkiller addiction, but the recent news about the growing number of babies born addicted to these narcotics weighs heavy on my heart. To give you some background on the issue, in the first-ever national study of its kind, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association researchers looked at the number of newborns who suffered from withdrawal commonly observed in the babies of pregnant women who abused narcotic pain medications, like Vicodin and Oxycontin. The study reported that the number of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) tripled between 2000 and 2009, equating to roughly 13,539 drug-addicted newborns born each year, while the number of mothers using opiates at the time of delivery rose five-fold over that period

While both the issue and the number of victims are astounding, I think part of the issue is that many pregnant women may unfortunately not be aware that prescription painkillers can be harmful to their babies. Since the drugs are technically legal, many may assume that they are “safe.” In addition, since opiates are so highly addictive, if a mother is already taking the pills and becomes pregnant she simply may not be able to quit.

It’s absolutely heart wrenching to see that the rate of opiate addiction not only continues to rise in adolescent and adult populations, but that newborn babies are being affected as well. Rather than being given the chance to enter this world with a pure, clean slate these infants are born experiencing opiate withdrawal, which causes intense pain and suffering.

Based on what we now know to be a growing problem, it is crucial now more than ever that we as a nation and in our local communities provide increased public health measures to reduce prenatal exposure to opiates across the U.S. In the comments section below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why the rate of babies being born addicted has tripled. Do you think providing more education to those who are pregnant and/or addicted will help alleviate this problem? Please share with me below.


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by tiffthegift707, Jun 03, 2013
This hits home for me.... I wish I had the guts to sit down and write a response without feeling many emotions come out as my son is one of those 13,539 babies.... I can say, an addicts mind is not just easily turned off by just "education" sadly enough....

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by AcerbicRN, Jun 03, 2013
I CERTAINLY don't think "detox programs" are the answer. I have yet to see one wherein people don't just meet MORE addicts, which means they make MORE contacts, and often just become addicted to the SUBSTITUTE drug du jour, and the most recent one costs a FORTUNE. What you're doing on this forum, Clare, is little more than spamming. What kind of degree does one need for "addiction specialist" these days? Or is it still just having had the experience that makes one qualified for the job? I didn't notice any other letters after your name, which would make that caduceus a bit misleading, wouldn't you say?

As an NICU RN (BSN) of almost twenty years I assure you, hospital newborn intensive care units are well equipped to screen for, identify and properly care for at risk neonates (newborns) who are born to addicted birth givers.

What your sad little study actually points out is the need for more emphasis on PREGNANCY PREVENTION among addicts and less preaching about how the use of pregnancy PREVENTATIVES is "murder" ...because it isn't. Fertilization and implantation never occur when birth control, including "Plan B" pills are used properly and in a timely manner. It is no more an early abortion or murder than using a condom! People who KNOW they are addicted need to have the decency to accept the modicum of responsibility it takes to prevent an innocent life from suffering the HELL they are putting themselves and everyone who loves and cares about them through! Perhaps a tour through the local NICU would jar some sense into everyone involved in this issue!

Of course I could never dream of saying any of this to a birth giver whose infant I cared for. My job, before I became disabled, was to educate and hopefully prevent such a tragedy happening in the future. Of course I worked all those years at a CATHOLIC hospital, so what I could say was severely limited.

Finally, to anyone who has a loved one who is an addict... do NOT send anyone you care for to a methadone clinic unless they are mainlining heroin at high doses, because if they are not doing that now, the methadone clinic will HAVE them doing it by they time they get done with them!

"Treatment" is a sham unless you do it one on one with your own physician/equivalent professional. Anything else you can get from a BOOK...and you'll save several thousand dollars in the process, and you won't meet up with a bunch of other addicts who will drag you back down every time you start making some progress. How do I know this, you ask. My son's best friend from grade school and most of the way through high school, where they parted ways, has "been there and back" more times than I can count! ...but he's fine now because he finally moved out of state and has a SOBER girlfriend. Codependency helps no one! That's not love, that's enabling.

I strongly advise the Codependent No More series of books by Melody Beattie if anyone you care about is struggling with any kind of drug addiction, be it alcohol or other substances. Best wishes everyone...spammers discluded.

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by joeyd31962, Jun 03, 2013
i met my girlfriend of 13yr.s in Rehab. So for all "EXPERTS",dig up your magical pipes & get a pk. of U100's.Dust off th' Ol' NA/AA Bible's.I fought for these 2 brainwashing,no merit,no proof or substance rags.Written for junkies, by junkies. Hell, I even went along with their BABBLE for a few yr.s OMG, I met a fine lady who is SOBER & DRUG-FREE !!! I did WHAT I HAD TO, 2 KEEP MYSELF ALIVE.

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