Medical authorities are witnessing explosive growth in the number of newborn babies hooked on prescription painkillers, innocent victims of their mothers’ addictions.
The trend reflects how deeply rooted abuse of powerful narcotics, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, has become. Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
National statistics on the number of babies who go through withdrawal are not available, and states with the worst problems have only begun to collect data. Scattered reports show the number of addicted newborns has doubled, tripled or more over the past decade. In Florida, the epicenter of the illicit prescription drug trade, the number of babies with withdrawal syndrome soared from 354 in 2006 to 1,374 in 2010, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
In response to the growing severity of the problem, theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics convened a committee this year to revise its treatment guidelines for the babies. The new guidelines are set to be published next year.
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J. Kyle Mathews, MD
Plano OBGYN Associates
Plano Urogynecology Associates