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One Baby Per Hour Born Addicted to a Prescription Painkiller

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The number of babies addicted to prescription painkillers is on the rise due to a growing addiction problem among pregnant women. Many of the women say that they did not realize that the drugs would harm their child because they are legal while others were addicted before they became pregnant and cannot quit on their own.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, 3.4 of every 1,000 babies born is addicted to a prescription painkiller or one baby per hour in the U.S. Although the prevalence of drug addiction hasn't changed since the early 2000s among pregnant women, the types of drugs they are addicted to has changed. Babies born addicted to prescription painkillers experience withdrawal symptoms, are smaller than normal, and are more likely to die. Doctors attempt to treat the babies' pain by treating them with methadone, a narcotic painkiller used to treat heroin addicts.

Marie Hayes, a psychology professor at the University of Maine, says that society has an obligation to help these infants and that prescription painkillers have been overprescribed and sold illegally while providing superior pain control. However, it is equally as important to help the mothers who are addicted to prescription painkillers, particularly since the hardest hit states are those with high rates of rural poverty.