MSNBC recently reported on the youngest victims of our nation’s prescription drug epidemic: babies born already addicted to prescription painkillers. More than 13,000 of these infants, whose mothers were taking drugs like OxyContin while they were pregnant, are born each year in the United States (according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.)
These babies experience drug withdrawal symptoms similar to those an adult would experience. “They vomit. They have diarrhea. They’ll often have fever, sweating…extreme irritability,” said Dr. Mary Newport, of the Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida.
Large long-term studies of these addicted infants have yet to be completed, so we don’t know for sure whether they’ll have serious problems later in life because of their mothers’ prescription drug abuse. But doctors know that more and more addicted babies will be born as long as pregnant women continue to abuse pain pills.
“They are the innocent victims,” adds Dr. Newport. “They had no control over it and yet they suffer tremendously for it.”