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Number of Babies Born Addicted Still on the Rise

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is the result of babies born addicted to opioids. A few years ago I reported statistics on how many babies go through the hell of being born addicted to prescription drugs and having to go through the torture of withdrawal. Drug withdrawal is torture for everyone– you can imagine how bad it must be for a baby, just out of the womb, their body very delicate, and with no understanding of why they hurt.

The drugs they’re being born addicted to are opioids. Opiates are drugs made directly from the poppy plant (like heroin): opioids are synthetic drugs made in a lab and are primarily prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Opana, and so on.

Here are the stats from a few years ago:

• In the U.S., one baby addicted to prescription painkillers is born every hour.
• 16.2 percent – one in six – of pregnant teens are taking illegal drugs.
• 7.4 percent of pregnant women aged 18 through 25 are also abusing drugs.
• In the year 2000, U.S. hospitals spent $190 million taking care of addicted newborns. By 2009, that number had soared to $720 million.

Here are the most recent stats. Some are different than the stats available a few years ago, but you will still get the point:

• One infant is born every 25 minutes with NAS. That’s more than twice as many as a few years ago.
• From 2009-2012 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) the number of babies born with NAS went from 4 births per 1,000 to 5.8 births per 1,000.
• The highest rate of NAS—at 16.2 births per 1,000—was in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Why Has NAS Skyrocketed?

As babies are being tortured, the number of prescriptions written for the drugs they’re addicted to just keeps on going up. Ridiculous amounts. The number of prescriptions written increased by 300 percent over a period of 10 years. In just one year doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioids. And doctors also prescribe them for pregnant women.

These drugs are not lightweight. OxyContin, for example, was approved by the FDA for things like cancer pain, and even then it was only approved for use when nothing else worked.

Cancer pain can be excruciating and it’s understandable that a cancer patient could need the strongest painkiller they can get. But now the same heavy painkillers are prescribed for headaches, backaches, arthritis – just about anything else people take painkillers for. Plus a few more things that you wouldn’t think would warrant a painkiller prescription, like:

• Shortness of breath
• Relieving pain in children – even though it’s never been approved for children or even safety tested
• To fix sleeping problems
• To reduce anxiety

That’s just a few examples.

The truth is that’s these are very addictive drugs. If doctors are going to keep prescribing them like they’re going out of style, then more people will take them and more people will get addicted.

If you have female friends or relatives who might possibly get pregnant, let them know that they’re risking their child also getting addicted and having to endure withdrawal as soon as they are born.

Most addicts are very aware of withdrawal symptoms. It’s actually one of the main reasons more people don’t quit—they can’t stand the pain and discomfort of withdrawal. If they can’t stand it, how do they thing their baby’s going to be able to take it?

If you know someone who might be an addict, call us for help. 855-889-0555.

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