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US Health System "Overwhelmed" by Increased in Number of Babies Born Addicted

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    The number of babies born with addictions to opioids and debilitating withdrawal symptoms is rapidly growing amid the national heroin epidemic, up by double digits over 2016.

    Prescription painkillers are propelling the recent heroin epidemic ravaging the U.S., which is claiming more lives each year at an alarming rate. One of the most disturbing impact is on children of addicts who are being born with addictions of their own. Six in every 1,000 babies were born with opioid withdrawal in 2013, up from 1.5 in every 1,000 babies in 1999. That number is likely growing larger amid the ongoing crisis, reports Cleveland.com.

    Carl Ayers, director of family services with the Virginia Department of Social Services, recently testified to lawmakers that the rate of newborns suffering opioid withdrawal is up 21 percent for 2016. Hospitals in more rural areas of the country are seeing the largest influx of babies born to drug addicted parents.

    “When they are born, because they’re no longer being exposed to an opiate, they’re going to go through withdrawal,” Dr. Sean Loudin, medical director of a neonatal therapeutic unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia, told CNN. “That is what we deal with. We deal with babies going through withdrawal.”

    Problems linked to opioid exposure in the womb are long lasting, according to recent research. A study published in the journal Pediatrics Monday analyzed 2,200 people born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and found they do progressively worse in school and their test scores suffer when compared with their peers.

    In states hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, social services are becoming overwhelmed by the need for child care. Officials in Ohio say that opioids are the main driver of a 19 percent spike in the number of kids removed from parental custody for foster care since 2010.

    “Honestly, if something doesn’t happen with this addiction crisis, we can lose a generation of kids,” Robin Reese, executive director of Lucas County Children Services, told The Wall Street Journal in December. “God knows I would hate to see orphanages come back, but the child-protection system is being inundated now.”

    Heroin deaths reached new highs last year and the problem only seems to be accelerating. Luzerne County in Pennsylvania has a death rate from drugs four times larger than New York City due to the heroin scourge, despite a population of just 318,000.

    The community went from roughly 12 drug related deaths a decade ago to 137 in 2015. New York itself experienced a 135.7 percent increase in synthetic opioid and heroin-induced deaths between 2014 and 2015.

    By Steve Birr - The Daily Caller/Jan. 16, 2017
    Photo: ABC News
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Name goes here
    Here's an idea: stop treating pregnant opiate addicted moms like criminals. If these women didn't face losing their newborn to the state and could be treated like humans, I'd put money on the majority of pregnancy women would seek help. Addiction is a disorder, not a crime. Why let the newborn suffer if mom can be given an opiate to taper down on?

    I'm very connected to this type of shit. My kids mother is disabled. There were opiates used through two pregnancies. Because the prescribing doctor and babies doctor communicated, both my kids were born opiate free and healthy. Is this an optimal scenario, of course not. There's risks of all pregnant women's actions. Giving them proper health care and not jail is the solution.
  2. aemetha
    The premise on which these types of laws are based is fundamentally flawed.

    The premise is "Drug users are addicted because they have a fundamental lack of willpower." which leads to the conclusion "If they have a fundamental lack of willpower they obviously aren't qualified to be parents.".

    Those assumptions are incorrect because when you examine the evidence it has very little to do with a lack of willpower comparatively with "good parents".

    • 50% of people with a substance use disorder have a serious mental illness. Not just a mental illness, a serious mental illness. Having a comorbid substance abuse problem often disqualifies you from getting treatment for the first disorder.
    • Stress is shown to predict the development of substance use disorders. Health approaches to managing the serious consequences of stress however tend to be an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Instead of targeting the sources of stress, and inappropriate coping mechanisms, they perform heart transplants for cardiac arrests and apply naloxone to overdose victims (No slight to the people applying these measures intended, this is a policy issue, not a primary care one).
    • Addiction disproportionately affects poor people and poor communities. The response to this is to increase the proportion of the poor. 8 people now have half the worlds wealth according to what I read this morning in the newspaper.
    • Genetics is a predictor of susceptibility to addiction. I've never seen any links between this and genetic predictors of willpower though.
    • Willpower is only used as to define good parenting when it comes to addictions.

    Treating these types of social issues involves providing the right environment so people can get the help they need without using drugs without recrimination. People rightly fear having their children taken from them because of drug addiction because it takes longer in many places to receive and complete treatment than federal guidelines allow for a child to be in state care without seeking permanent placement. Getting help requires them to not give up their child temporarily, but forever.

    The whole system needs a complete overhaul. Substance abuse and mental health treatments need to be integrated and neither condition used to deny someone treatment, and the child welfare system needs to be realistic about the time frames these things take, in addition to the time frames being improved.

    The media needs to get on board with evidence based treatments too. Pulling at heart strings in order to sell as many copies as possible happens too often. Not often enough do they talk about the realities that make life so difficult to get help for people that legitimately are abandoned by society. This particular story isn't as bad as many, but as factual as this story is, it explores only one aspect of the story. It's not hard to discover the reasons these things are happening.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Oh, sure. It would be nice and logical if the US Government applied what their own science dictates as the most logical way to address addiction issues and that they go about changing the laws of the land to reflect such rationale.

    But the fact remains that a capitalistic Republic, such as the US, is not in the habit of doing things just because they're in the best interest of the whole or because science dictates. No. that applying of logic won't happen anytime soon - especially since the election of Donald Trump has successfully managed to set our entire nation back about fifty years - to the time of the Nixon Administration - in regard to the further development of social freedoms.

    As long as the US continues to put the value of money ahead of the value of its citizens (and heaven knows the US in far from alone in that practice), people's needs and further development of humane treatment and social causes in all forms, will take a back seat to "logic" for a long time to come.

    So your points, though all fine, good and well taken, will not likely take actual place in our lifetimes. My idealistic generation gave it all we had, and you can see for yourself how far it got us. It's a tougher "road to hoe" than it appears, making such change, I'm afraid. That doesn't mean I or anyone else should give up; far from it. It means that the change your suggesting is a steep, straight-uphill climb - on glass.
  4. aemetha
    This is true, I cannot argue with that logic. I guess I'm just of a mind that we have to keep saying it so that in future generations there are enough people saying the same thing at the same time to actually affect meaningful change.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    Never stop trying to change the world, Aemetha. :) I didn't at your age and you should not either.

    I'm just an older woman who has seen dreams born, nurtured and die. But, being the true enigma that I am, an Optimist I always have been and a curious and compelled Optimist I will always be. :vibes:

    Light the world on fire!
  6. detoxin momma
    i just want to share, i took tramadol when i was pregnant. i didnt know i was pregnant until damn near the end of the first trimester, 11 weeks to be exact.

    i was taken off by the 2nd trimester, i know now, that had alot to do with why i couldnt sleep when i was pregnant, not to mention the sciatic pain.
    the pressure on my nerve was so bad, you could literally see the main vein going threw my knee, and down my leg, much pressure, made me limp even, i was prescribed a knee brace/splint as well.

    by the 3rd trimester, i was so worn down, my doctor prescribed me ambien, 10 mgs, pregnant. at this point he also asked me if i'd ever tried tramadol.....i had a doctor switch mid pregnancy, mine moved, he didnt know my first OB took me off it, she suggested codeine, which i declined.

    so i was prescribed tramadol, while pregnant, told to stop taking it soon as i delivered, and my doctor knew i planned to breast feed.

    i noticed no withdrawals, and she was even taken from me the first night,"for observation"
    the nurse brought her back to me, and said, "never made a fuss".....

    i should also share, i only took a tiny bit, like 50 mgs a day, it didnt help with my pain at all, but im glad i didnt risk liking codeine.
  7. perro-salchicha614
    Aemetha, those are all really excellent points.

    Everyone here knows I'm not exactly an optimist, but we are in the middle of some really significant demographic shifts that are eventually going to undermine the harsh, punitive drug policies that we have in this country. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a major scaling back of the war on drugs in a decade or two. We have to take the long view of this issue.

    Frankly, I think Trump's election is the last hurrah of frustrated whites who know they won't be a majority for much longer.
  8. Beenthere2Hippie
    Not that this has anything to do with babies born to addicted moms, but I have to mention that anyone who knows anything about the timeline of politics will tell you that - barring Mr. Trump getting himself and his vice president tossed out of the White House due to some huge scandal - Mr. Trump's placement of at least one - and possibly as many as three - new Supreme Court Justices will reverberate politically far-right on their own for way longer than two decades.

    Then you have to consider that, with the majority the House and the Senate now conservative, all the laws the Republicans managed to enact in the next four to eight years will further increase the difficulties and unlikelihood of a quick turnaround in the public acceptance of recreational drug use or any other progressive causes.

    The only hope for a quicker turnaround would be an actual coup or overthrow of the US government by people sharing our views on recreational drugs. That, I do not see happening anytime soon either. But fight we all will, for what we believe in, although not accepting that our fight involves steep and precarious climb that will take time is, frankly, ludicrous.

    As for babies born to addicted moms, perhaps science will help there, encouraging even the most conservative of thinkers that no good comes from punishing a mother due to her self-medicating that continued into her pregnancy. We can hope that science wins there, even if the politics of it does not come through quite yet. We can hope,

  9. perro-salchicha614
    Well, it does have something to do with opioid-addicted babies, because, as name goes here pointed out, the punitive approach to drug addiction discourages women from seeking treatment so that their babies will not be born addicted.

    There's no doubt that older whites will continue to hold on to their cultural, if not numerical, majority in the near future, but they can't do it forever.

    Let's not forget the younger demographic which favors legalization and drug policy reform at a much higher rate than older voters... I predict that when the younger demographic starts to accumulate enough wealth to feel like they have a stake in the political process, and they start voting in larger numbers, we're going to start to see major changes.

    The full impact of these demographic shifts on drug policy might not be felt in your lifetime, but I believe it will be in mine.
  10. Beenthere2Hippie
    Considering that the "young" in this country haven't been motivated to vote in numbers as of yet, and that the only people who consistently show up to do so are over fifty, mass change may take a while. At least till people your age are, perhaps, fifty?

    Meanwhile, if our US opiate epidemic continues, I expect that popular opinion as to how to realistically and compassionately care for addicted babies and their mothers will sway whatever archaic laws the conservatives try to put in place, if most everyone's family becomes affected to some degree or other by the epidemic.
  11. perro-salchicha614
    Yeah, that's only going to be 15 years from now....

    Sigh... :(
  12. AKA_freckles
    Welp, ladies, now that I want to jump off a bridge...

    I wonder how much the fentanyl analog issue is affecting this. If 2 and 3X the naloxone is needed for fentanyl spiked heroin ODs, I'm assuming babies born dependent on that combo are having much rougher discontinuation than straight heroin/pills/methadone addicted infants.

    Edit to add-

    I'm not going to get into numbers, but it's a well known truth that many female addicts have experienced past sexual abuse. Combined with the sexual abuse and teenage/unwed pregnancy link, this is just a wicked example of cause and effect in many cases.

    These young mothers are simply being victimized again by the state, with the cycle no doubt repeating itself (in the not so distant future) through their children due to their hot potato-like treatment from Child Services. Good intentions or not, removing children repeatedly from a home helps nothing. These moms need support, not punishment and stigmatization.

    To get controversial, and off topic, I am all for government sterilization incentives. I think if our country offered a substantial reward for choosing to never have biological children we would make great strides in our child and substance abuse problems.

    I understand there are major moral and legal issues, like being pressured by a family member or when there's mental or physical disabilities involved, but overall people should be rewarded for making a responsible choice, rather than the other way around.

    The Right would never go for it, though, because who would work all those crappy minimum wage jobs if not poor single moms and their children?
  13. Beenthere2Hippie
    That is a very important and relevant question, Freckles, and one I cannot find any immediate (scientific papers) answer to doing a quick Google search. Perhaps it's just too early to really have stats on this yet?

    Either way, as you mentioned, with Naloxone having to be administered at way higher doses on anyone ODing on opiates containing fentanyl or carfentanil, the facts leads me to believe that the same would apply to a baby born addicted to them.

    I do hope anyone with knowledge on this will add to this thread on this subject.

    Where is that bridge, by the way?...
  14. AKA_freckles
    Yes, BT2, I think I'm automatically replacing "heroin" with "fentanyl" in my head in the majority of articles I read on the opiate epidemic now.
    It's like how Nbome 's negative outcomes kept getting misrepresented as LSD in the media.
    They really are two different animals.

    Edit - okay I can't stop with this subject today.
    Just thinking about it makes me so mad. The burden of all of this automatically falls on the mothers, of course, but what about the fathers? If they punish the mothers for addiction, shouldn't the men be penalized too? I get that the physical exposure to infants is mainly the issue, but it seems incredibly unfair that the fathers (or sperm donors in many cases) have no responsibility in this. I don't think anyone who is truly suffering from addiction should be punished, but what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
    Woman blaming / hating is so prevalent in our culture sometimes its hard to see.
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