Online Drug Class Key to Healthy Babies

by Mike Miller December 9, 2011

Prescription medication addiction is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions in this country. Add fetuses to the growing list of those addicted to prescription medication. No, that is not a typo, and really the only surprise is that obviously fetuses cannot access the Internet – yet!

Medical authorities are witnessing explosive growth in the number of newborn babies hooked on prescription painkillers, innocent victims of their mothers' addictions.

A Long History of Addicted Babies

Health professionals have dealt with addicted mothers and drug-exposed babies for decades.

In the 1960s and 1970s, heroin emerged as a problem. That is when neonatologist Loretta Finnegan, who has studied substance abuse, developed a scoring system of symptoms to diagnose neonatal abstinence syndrome or drug withdrawal in the infants. By the 1980s, the problem had shifted to cocaine and crack. In the past five to 10 years, doctors say they have treated growing numbers of babies hooked on prescription opioid painkillers.

While abuse of many street drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, is declining, painkiller abuse is growing. About 7 million people abuse prescription drugs, including painkillers, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses have more than tripled in the past decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The epidemic of drug-addicted newborns really follows exactly from the spread of the pill mills, the ability to buy prescription drugs like OxyContin on the street, to get them on the Internet. It's staggering to think of the financial, emotional and social costs of this problem.

Do you think legal remedies are the answer? Should law enforcement charge addicted mothers who give birth to addicted babies with a crime? If not, what is the answer? One thing that cannot hurt is for doctors to make sure all pregnant are educated to the dangers of prescription medications on pregnancies.

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