Thousands of Babies Born Addicted to Prescription Pills

The headline above is from a July 28, 2010 article on the online site, Opposing View. The article was just one of many within a few weeks on the subject of babies being born addicts because their mothers were addicted to prescription drugs. The problem has increased so quickly that the Opposing View article reported that in 2009 the number of babies born addicted to prescription drugs nationwide exceeded the number of crack babies.

A July 29, 2011 article on the subject in the publication, The Week, starts their article by saying, “Babies born addicted to crack cocaine were a scourge of cities in the 1980s, but today, in hospitals across America, doctors are delivering a new kind of crack baby: Newborns addicted to the prescription drugs that their mother’s abuse.”

The numbers are becoming alarming with it being reported that in some hospitals in Florida between 15 to 20 percent of newborns are treated for withdrawal. According to a July 31, 2011 article in the Orlando Sentinal, 1374 babies in Florida were born addicted to drugs in 2010 because their mothers were users. This represented a 42 percent increase in one year. To put these numbers into perspective, in 2006, only 36 babies were born in the entire United States who were addicted to prescription medications.

A July 27, 2011 CNN story on the same subject looked at Broward County in south Florida where the problem seems to be most acute. Several people were interviewed including Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti who said, “We saw the number of crack babies that died, and this is just another version of that. We all need to be concerned.”

Also commenting in the CNN article was Mary Osuch, the head nurse at Broward General Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit. “They go through withdrawal symptoms,” she noted, “They’re crampy, miserable. They sweat. They can have rapid breathing. Sometimes, they can even have seizures.”

Janet Colbert, who works in the neonatal-intensive-care unit at a South Florida hospital, is a founding member of STOPP Now (Stop the Organized Pill Pushers – She commented, “I think it’s devastating. This is why we keep going, and we’re not going to stop until these pain clinics are closed.”

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