Sadly, drug abuse is so non-discriminatory that even infants are born addicted to powerful opiates and overwhelming early-life discomfort. A recent rise in babies born with opiate addiction in the United States refocuses the attention of many in the war on drugs.
Our fight is not with each other or in who to blame, but against these devastating substances with the power to ruin a life before it has even begun.
What Is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (or NAS for short) is the medical term for the condition where an infant is born displaying withdrawal symptoms from drugs taken during pregnancy. NAS is seen resulting from stimulant and sedative abuse as well as opiates, but today we specifically see a rise in babies born with opiate addiction and withdrawal signs, indicating a need for heightened attention in this area nationwide.
Infants born with NAS are easily spotted by their distinct screaming cry, as well as a full gamut of other symptoms and physical abnormalities. Because opiate withdrawal is so intensely physically uncomfortable, babies have a very hard time with the process. Bone and muscle aches as well as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty eating and sleeping are all symptoms of NAS.
Further, NAS babies are often born with physical deformations and/or whole body parts, organs or limbs not fully developed. Mentally handicapped children are also common products of in-utero drug use.
Prescription Opioids Leading To Increased Heroin Use
America’s decade-long surge in prescription painkiller use and addiction has undoubtedly contributed to the rise in babies born with opiate addiction. NAS is produced in babes by the use of habit-forming drugs during pregnancy, and we know for certain that painkillers are habit-forming.
Sadly, a great majority of patients who go to their doctors seeking pain relief start out with a legitimate prescription (for Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc.) and end up in an overwhelming yet unintended opiate addiction.
After prolonged use, opioid pills become pricey and, eventually, not a strong enough high. The body naturally develops a dependency on opiates, and gradually requires more and more of the drug in order to experience the same original effect. Pill abusers very commonly turn to heroin for a less expensive way to keep up their habit (heroin is one tenth the cost of prescription drugs) and a more powerful high.
How to Safely Stop Using Opiates While Pregnant
Many pregnant women struggling with opiate abuse report gaining additional strength and willpower in the magic of becoming a mother. However, because unborn life is so fragile, it is very important to consult a doctor if you are a pregnant opiate abuser looking to safely stop using.
NAS babies commonly require strong medications like morphine and methadone to safely withdrawal, and often this is the case for pregnant mothers. It is vital that a “cold turkey” approach is not employed, as this could very easily end the unborn baby’s life.
When the situation occurs, consulting a doctor and withdrawing under medical supervision is absolutely necessary. However the real key is stopping the use of drugs once one finds out she is pregnant or as early as possible in the pregnancy. This could be lifesaving to the unborn child, and avoid a variety of problems and complications after the birth. This also saves the child from a heart wrenching withdrawal process that no newborn should have to go through.
For more information on this issue or to find help for a loved one contact the drug Narconon program today.