The opioid epidemic doesn’t just affect adults; it also takes its toll on newborns. Babies born from opioid addicted mothers vomit, sweat, scream, writhe and shake uncontrollably. They are born into suffering.
The high number of people addicted to heroin over the last decade brought about the problem of babies born with withdrawal syndrome. They can be seen at Intensive Care Units across America.
According to a survey published by New Jersey Advance Media, in parts of the state over one out of every fifty babies born in 2014 had neonatal abstinence syndrome, depending on what type of drugs the mother took while pregnant.
In 2014, a whopping 638 babies were born with NAS. The figure skyrocketed since 2008.
Sharon Burke, director of Infant and Toddler Rehabilitation, believes the situation breaks your heart. Over the past five years, the problem grew. At first, mothers consumed a variety of medications and drugs (cocaine, alcohol), but nowadays it narrowed down to opioid use, and the epidemic is nowhere near over.
At a state level, for every thousand babies born, more than six had neonatal abstinence syndrome.
However, there are areas which report even higher numbers of opioid epidemic victims. In Burlington, Sussex, Camden, Gloucester and Salem, more than 1 percent of babies is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. In Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic, the figure is double.
Mothers who are addicted to opioids pass on the addiction to the unborn child. When the baby is born, it no longer has the supply of opioid so it goes into withdrawal.
The neonatal abstinence syndrome makes babies irritated, vomit, get diarrhea, high blood pressure, and muscle contractions. Sometimes, infants get seizures. Recent studies show that this syndrome causes developmental issues later in life.
However, doctors have some good news. The syndrome is treatable. Doctors advise against judging mothers, as we all make mistakes. And fortunately, this syndrome can be treated. After all, ninety percent of newborns go home with their biological mothers.
Over the last decade, there were 5,000 deaths related to heroin and opioid abuse and a reported 128,000 are addicted to crack or heroin.
What’s your opinion on this article? Do you think opioid abuse is a nationwide problem? Leave a comment, below. Thank you.
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