8 Hour Drug Classes Could Help Drug Addicted Babies

by Mike Miller October 2, 2012

Every child deserves a fair chance. Every child deserves to be born not addicted to drugs. However, today the fact remains that thousands of babies are being born addicted to drugs ranging from crack to prescription medication.

More than half the babies in the University of Kentucky Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit one day this month were suffering from drug withdrawal — one sucking licorice-flavored morphine to ease his tremors and near-constant crying, another so sensitive to light and sound that he slept in a dark isolation room. They are the tiniest victims of the prescription pill epidemic, and their numbers are soaring. As reported in www.usatoday.com.

While Kentucky seems to have been one of the places with the most severe increase in number of addicted babies (2000-2009) – an increase of 2400%, the national average is scary with an increase of more than 300%.

One nurse in an infant development/touch therapist for neonatal nurseries said there are times when as many as 14 of 26 babies in the special-care nursery where she works suffer from withdrawal.

The babies are agitated. They are screaming. They have tremors. Their faces — you have the grimace. They're in pain. Sometimes, the babies have seizures.

Overall health care costs for addicted newborns are soaring — from $190 million in 2000 to $720 million in 2009. Addicted babies stayed an average of 16.4 days in the hospital at a cost of $53,400 per infant, with government-funded Medicaid paying the bill in 80% of cases.

So, what is the answer? In my opinion mandatory 8 hour drug classes for all pregnant women. The cost of these classes could easily be made back by not having drug-addicted babies.

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