Drug addiction in mothers is leading to a sharp and alarming rise in babies born addicted to drugs in the US. The addictions are almost always to powerful opiates like Oxycontin and Vicodin, which are legal, similar to heroin, and sometimes sneeringly referred to as “hillbilly heroin.” But the drug addiction is happening everywhere in the country, not just in rural south, even if the epidemic is worse there.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) recently joined with doctors to call for a nationwide plan to deal with the numbers of babies born addicted to opiates.
“About one baby per hour is born addicted to prescription drugs or other opiates, and we must act now to reduce that alarming statistic and prevent this growing trend from spiraling out of control,” he said.
Over 50% of such mothers giving birth to addicted babies in a Staten Island hospital are addicted to prescription opiates.
At a hospital in East Tennessee a staggering 50% of ALL babies are born addicted. When they are 48 hours old they sometimes are given morphine to help taper off the addiction. They scream, rage, and twitch like any addict in withdrawal. One nurse says they have a fearful look in their eyes. Such babies have a host of developmental and behavioral disorders which can be long-term in nature.
A 19-year-old addicted mother was told by doctors not to withdraw from drugs while pregnant for fear of possibly killing her unborn child. She is being allowed to keep her child so long as she tries to stay clean. Some say states should take drug-addicted babies from their mothers. But what will they do with them then and when does the mother get them back? A mother whose baby has been taken might despair and go back to addiction. Or it might be the jolt she needs to get clean and stay clean. There are no easy answers here.
As a nation, we need to confront some nasty facts about ourselves.
The U.S. accounts for 4.6 per cent of the entire world's population but consumes a whopping 80 per cent of the globe's painkillers. The top selling opiate is hydrocodone which is in Vicodin and America makes up 99 per cent of the market.
We appear to be a nation of drug addicts (just ask the Mexican drug cartels. We’re their best customers by far.) But why is that supposedly regulated prescription opiates are so badly misused? Dr. Feelgood pill doctors and pharmacies that don’t ask questions don’t get shut down much (or if they do, they simply reopen someplace else.)
The best way to stop the growing number of drug addict babies is to stop the flood of prescription opiates. Pill doctors should lose their licenses and go to prison. There should be a national registry of those using prescription opiates to insure they don’t have multiple prescriptions at once.
It is sickening and appalling that the US has a growing numbing of addicted babies. It needs to stop now.