Increased Rate of Infant Addiction to Prescription Drugs Worrisome – and Still Growing

More Expectant Mothers Engaging in Substance Abuse

Twenty years ago, the concern was over children being born addicted to street drugs – crack, heroin, meth, and so on. Now, unfortunately, the tides of addiction have changed, and now every hour, a baby is born in the United States with all the signs and symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

To put that another way, around 11% of children nationwide are born to mothers with substance abuse problems, and that doesn’t even take into account nicotine or alcohol. And due to the nature of how a child derives nutrition from its mother in utero, the odds of those children developing an addiction to the mother’s drug of choice are uncomfortably high.

Risks to Unborn Children

The inherent health risk for these children is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is a technical way of saying that as soon as they are born, they go into withdrawal from whatever chemicals their mothers were using. Depending on the specific drugs, usage habits, and so forth, the symptoms of NAS can range from irritability all the way to seizures, and can last for days or even months. Even more worrisome is the fact that for many of these children, the symptoms of NAS do not manifest until after their mothers have taken them home, which means doctors are left unaware of their plight.

Addressing the Problem

Discussions are being held by doctors and legislators nationwide about how to deal with this growing crisis. The problem is that many of the pieces of legislation proposed, such as enforced toxicology screening, or even the currently running lawsuit in New Jersey that could classify the use of methadone while pregnant (even with a legitimate prescription) as child abuse, inherently infringe on the rights of the mother and reduce her to nothing more than an inconvenient, but necessary, vehicle for childbirth.

Physicians hope that this is an issue that will be resolved quickly, but considering the complexity of the matter at hand, that optimism seems unlikely to pay off any time soon.

Contact the National Information Center for Pain Medication Addiction anytime toll-free at (855) 222-1980 or through our online form, and receive the answers, information or our recommendation for the help you or your loved one need to stop their pain medication addiction!

Get back the quality of life and level of dignity that is only possible when you or your loved one are no longer addicted to pain medication drugs . . . regardless of whether they were obtained legally or illegally.

-->