With Mother’s Day less than a week away, it’s both heartbreaking and maddening to know that three out of every thousand babies in the United States are born addicted to drugs. The magnitude of this problem can be simplified by this ratio: every hour approximately one infant is born an addict, and we are all paying the price for this national tragedy. The TWG became aware of this problem from Karen Kaplan’s LA Times article, “A Baby Is Born Addicted To Drugs Once An Hour.”
When a pregnant woman is using drugs, especially opiates or prescription painkillers, her infant has nearly an eighty percent chance to become addicted to drugs while in utero. When a baby is born addicted, he or she is diagnosed as having NAS, (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) and must face weeks of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, and/or respiratory distress. To make this bad situation even worse, some babies have to be given morphine or methadone to help them completely kick their drug habits. It’s one thing to threaten your own life, but it’s an entirely different matter to harm your child.
The research for these depressing statistics was conducted at the University of Michigan and the University of Pittsburgh and the results have been recently published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.