26,000 babies born to drug addicts each year, and the costs are staggering
| Headline Health – As we reported recently, the horrific national epidemic of opioid addiction is the result of a deliberate and costly campaign by the pharmaceutical industry to increase demand for their powerful painkilling drugs.
The latest toll shows 72,000 deaths per year from drug abuse; most of these cases involve opioids.
Now we’re learning that it’s not just people with painful conditions and drug-seeking behaviors who are feeling the effects. Infants are being born addicted to opioids at an alarming rate, and the cost for caring for those infants is shocking …
Rate Of Babies Born To Moms With Opioid Addiction Quadruples
Amber Leventry, ScaryMom.com | The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that from 1999-2014, the rate of babies born to opioid-addicted mothers quadrupled:
- Fifteen years ago, 1.5 babies out of 1,000 were born to mothers addicted to opioids.
- By 2014, that number had climbed to 6.5 babies out of 1,000.
[The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the number of births in the U.S. in 2014 was 3,988,076; that translates into 25,922 infants born addicted. – Editor]
Vermont has the highest the rate of babies born to opioid addicts; A staggering 48.6 deliveries out of 1,000 were considered opioid use disorder births.
I have witnessed one of these cases firsthand when I supported a friend who fostered a methadone-addicted baby for the first month of her life.
While mom was trying to stay clean, she used methadone and smoked pot—even at the hospital. The baby was immediately taken from the mother’s care and sent home with my friend.
Instructions on how to deal with rigidity, screaming, and tremors were given. The goal was to rehabilitate Mom so Baby could be returned to her care.
It was heartbreaking to know my friend could provide a safe and drug-free home, but the hope was sobriety and reunification.
This information is devastating and hard to swallow, but we need to better understand this epidemic. We need to examine how our most vulnerable became the victims of drug addiction before they were even born.
How We Got Here
It can be easy to form opinions that shame and judge addicted mothers who deliver stillbirth babies or those with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) — complications due to withdrawal-like symptoms babies experience after birth.
Pregnant women aren’t supposed to have deli meat, too much caffeine, or even a glass of wine, yet these mothers are abusing prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl throughout their entire pregnancies. It’s awful and unacceptable … Read more at ScaryMom.com; coverage continues below …
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Medical Costs Soar for U.S. Babies Born Addicted to Opioids
WebMD: Yearly price tag for their care now tops $300 million, researchers report
Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter | June 15, 2017 – The number of U.S. newborns hospitalized for opiate withdrawal has spiked sharply in recent years – and so has the cost of treating them, a new study shows.
In fact, the national bill for caring for these fragile newborns now runs in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the study found.
Researchers have known that the U.S. epidemic of painkiller abuse is extending to infants. Recent studies have charted a steep rise in so-called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the researchers said.
Most often, newborns suffer the condition because their mother took opioid painkillers — such as OxyContin or Vicodin — during pregnancy. Babies are born dependent on the drugs and quickly develop withdrawal symptoms.
That can mean a host of problems, from tremors and seizures to breathing difficulty to diarrhea and poor feeding.
Last year, a federal study found that the number of U.S. infants born with NAS tripled between 1999 and 2013 — at least across the 28 states that had data.
The new study, published June 14 in the journal Addiction, adds another layer: The financial toll.
By 2012, researchers found, NAS was costing the United States over $300 million in hospital care. That was up from $61 million in 2003.
And compared with other hospitalized newborns, those with NAS had stays that were three times as long and three times as costly. Read more at WebMD.