Although prescription painkiller addiction can be tragic in any circumstance, recent news about the growing number of babies born addicted to these narcotics really gave us pause. In the first-ever national study of its kind, 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, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that in 2009 approximately 3.4 of every 1,000 infants that were delivered in a hospital showed signs of prescription painkiller dependency or withdrawal. This number has nearly tripled in the past decade, and equates to roughly 13,539 drug-addicted newborns born each year.
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 now 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. In addition to being born with lower birth weights and having a higher risk of death than other babies, opiate-addicted newborns are also commonly treated with methadone, which is in of itself a powerful and addictive narcotic painkiller (also used to treat heroin addicts).
Part of the issue here 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 people 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.
Now more than ever before, it is crucial that we as a nation and in our local communities discuss prescription painkiller abuse. We all gave a moral obligation to help spread knowledge and awareness about how devastating these drugs can be, especially when it comes to how they are affecting thousands of newborn babies nationwide.
If you know someone who is pregnant and struggling with prescription painkiller addition, please encourage them to talk to their doctor about it and consider other options. If you would like more information about W Method rapid detox treatment, please call us anytime at (310) 927-7155. Together we can help stop this tragic epidemic from continuing to grow.