Treatment is Required in Order to Ease Pain
As a direct result of the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation, an increasing number of infants are already born with opioids in their system. When these babies are introduced to the world, they suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, commonly known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). In the last five years, close to 25,000 babies were born each year with opioids in their system and the numbers keep increasing. Sadly, every 20 minutes a baby is born with a drug or alcohol addiction in the U.S.
Although every baby responds differently to opioid withdrawal, the common symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Crying and screaming
- No appetite
- Seizures (can cause neurological damage)
- Low birth weight
For babies who are born with opioids or heroin in their system, an extended hospital stay in an intensive care unit is required in order to stabilize and monitor the infant. They will be administered medications in order to help ease the pain and discomfort that is associated with the withdrawal process. Generally, babies who have been exposed to drugs such as codeine, opioids, oxycodone, and methadone will begin to feel the painful withdrawal symptoms within 72 hours of being born. As soon as they exit the uterus, they are instantly cut off of their supply of drugs which can put an infant in a state of shock.
Not all babies who are born with opioids in their system are a result of an addict. Oftentimes, mothers do not stop taking their pain medication once they become pregnant which can result in opioids entering the babies system. It’s important to remember that babies cannot be addicted to drugs; they are born to drug users which result in drugs in their system. To be addicted means that you are consciously making an effort to take drugs despite the harmful consequences.
There has been a huge increase in material opioid use which is a major concern of doctors and pharmacists alike. There needs to be more stringent regulation when it comes to prescribing medications to women who are expected a baby. Continuing to prescribe these medications to expecting mothers puts doctors at just as much blame as the using mothers. The most vulnerable individuals to substance abuse are newborns and effective treatment needs to be available in order to help these innocent beings overcome the situation they were brought into the world to deal with.
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, consult your doctor about any sort of prescription medication that you are on. This can help prevent the issue of babies being born with drugs in their systems. Take control of your pregnancy and do the right thing; contact your doctor to see if the medication that you are taking is a hazard to your unborn baby.
Taking the proper precautions as it relates to born prescription and illicit drug use, as well as alcohol, during pregnancy, can ensure that both you and your baby are healthy.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.