The study done by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found out the rates of children being born addicted to opiate-based painkillers such as morphine or heroin has increased. The study noted that Florida is much worse with some people already referring to the state as the home of “Oxy-Express.”

There is a substantial increase of 500 percent in the occurrence of babies born addicted to drugs. According to the Tennessee Department of Human Services, within the first decade of the millennium, children born addicted to opiate-based drugs multiplied almost 10 times. The study estimates that about 13,539 U.S. babies are born addicted on a yearly basis.

How do children get addicted?

Neo-natal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition in which one is born addicted to drugs. The main cause of this condition is mothers using opiate-based drugs such as heroine while still pregnant. The child in return gets addicted in utero at birth. The newly born then begins to suffer from withdrawal symptoms because the supply that was initially provided by the mother is no longer available.

Health professionals explain that not all addicted mothers give birth to addicted babies. Some of the symptoms associated with this addiction are tremors, seizures, diarrhea, and difficulties in eating as well as practical allergy to light. These painful symptoms make the babies to undergo a great deal of suffering.

So as to wean the babies from opiate addiction, they are usually given methadone. This is equally very addictive. The NAS babies are usually placed in intensive care units where they are closely monitored by their doctors and nurses. The care-givers are usually vigilant to ensure that future complications are immediately minimized.

Scope of the study

These findings by a new study clearly points to the fact that there is an increasing surge in babies suffering from withdrawal. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a report a month ago indicating a much bigger scope of the problem. According to the report, there was an increase from 1.5 cases for every 1,000 births in 1999 to 6 cases per 1,000 in 2013.

The CDC researchers also observed a nationwide variation of the neonatal abstinence syndrome by state. In Hawaii, the rate was 33.4 cases per 1000 births while in West Virginia it was 0.7 cases for every 1000 births.

Whereas the study did not focus on the health outcomes of such babies, the infants will often demand for an intensive care.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment lowers the effects of withdrawal symptoms in the babies, but cannot take care of developmental problems the young one’s may encounter later on in their lives.

According to Dr. William Carey, a pediatrics researcher at pediatrics at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, the abuse of prescription opiates may have gone down but the usage of illicit opiates has shoot up.