Birth may be a difficult thing for many babies to go through, but for the 13,539 babies born every year who are addicted to drugs, it is much worse. Within hours these helpless infants begin to go through withdrawal from the drugs that have been routinely pumped through their little bodies every day. Many doctors and nurses may not even be aware that the mother was abusing drugs during her pregnancy, but the high-pitched cries of the newborn are a telltale sign that something is wrong. Unfortunately, this is an epidemic that is becoming more and more common in America. In fact, a recent national study published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association reported that the number of babies treated for drug withdrawal after birth nearly tripled between 2000 and 2009. These numbers break down to 1.2 out of every 1,000 babies born back then to 3.4 out of every 1,000 babies now.
The Cost Of The Problem
The majority of this type of opiate abuse and babies born with opiate addictions is, for the most part, centralized in only a few areas. These include rural Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee and parts of Florida. This epidemic in expected to become more and more widespread as abuse of these drugs continues to rise. Medicaid covers many of the babies born with opiate addiction, which is a publicly financed program.
As a result of the increase in babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, healthcare costs have increased greatly. These babies often stay in the hospital for an average of 16 days after being born as opposed to only three days for a healthy baby. One study showed that the average hospital stay for a baby with this condition was more that $50,000 in 2009, in which Medicaid covered about 80 percent. This in much greater than the average cost of delivering a baby, which is around $10,000.
The costs affiliated with treating infants with this condition were $720 million is 2009. A study taken of records from over 4,000 hospitals across America showed an increase in the rate of babies with opiate addiction from one in 1,000 in 2000 to over three in 1,000 in 2009. According to this find, that would include approximately 13,500 newborns in the United States. This isn’t very surprising given that the abuse of opiates, such as prescription painkillers, continues to rise among people in the US. In 2008, 14,800 people died from some kind of prescription opiate overdose, as stated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number has tripled in the past 20 years.
What Can be Done To Stop Babies Born Addicted
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging primary care physicians, gynecologists and obstetricians to screen all reproductive women for possible signs of substance abuse. This would give doctors the upper hand in catching and treating an addiction before the women were to become pregnant. This could be done by using a nonjudgmental questionnaire to find out about a patients drug use history as well as cigarette and alcohol use. Through more preventative measure such as this, our future generations stand a better chance by beginning life with healthy, drug free bodies.
Drug screening could also occur with those expecting so that the problem could be caught early and help could be gotten. This could include safe and effective medically supervised detox; followed up by completely drug free care that is long term.
For more information on this issue or to find out how to enroll someone into a successful treatment program contact Narconon today.