Prescription Drug Abuse in Newborns

Prescription Drug Abuse in Newborns

An estimated 20 percent of people in the United States have taken prescription pills for non-prescription use. This problem of prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic.

While many believe that prescription drug abuse only affects the addict, it is important to realize friends and families are affected – and unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones. Newborn babies are suffering from their mother’s addiction. In 2010, Florida reported that 635 of the births that year were to newborns that were already addicted to prescription pills.

This epidemic is affecting more and more young mothers as they get hooked on prescription pills. One out of every three women that are seeking help with unplanned pregnancies have tested positive for prescription drugs. Many believe one way to address this problem is to require pregnancy testing of childbearing women before a doctor prescribes opiates or any other prescription pill.

When a child is born to an addicted mother, the baby goes through withdrawal. They sweat, have rapid breathing, are underweight, don’t want to eat and sometimes suffer from seizures. These symptoms are similar to the withdrawal symptoms of an adult.

Marsha Current, who runs the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center in Fort Lauderdale, shared in a statement that pregnant women who are addicted to prescription drugs are usually hesitant to get help because they are worried their child will be taken away. Rather than completely cutting the pregnant woman from the drugs, Current believes they should be weaned from the drugs, under medical supervision, in order to be sure the unborn baby does not go through the withdrawal period.

Prescription drug misuse can assume different forms, and the drugs can be abused in a variety of ways. Some examples include taking more than a specific amount ordered from your health care provider, taking your medicine with certain narcotics or alcohol, using a family member or friend’s prescribed medication as a means to relieve pain, or using a medication that is not prescribed to you.

Addiction to prescription drugs is increasing at a rapid pace and is hard to overcome. These drugs change the reward center of the brain and make it extremely difficult to let go of the feelings that the drugs can provide. When a pregnant woman is abusing prescription drugs their unborn child receives these drugs as well and can suffer from addiction just like their mother.

Certain behaviors can act as a warning sign that you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs. Some of the signs include telling the provider that the medication has been “lost,” visiting several providers in order to obtain more medicine or prescriptions being stolen.

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