The use of opiate pain medications throughout the United States continues to be a problem and there are an astonishing amount of people addicted to them and they're not receiving help. Young teens as well as adults have become dependent on prescription pain killers like Vicodin and OxyContin, some due to medical reasons and others due to abuse.
Many young people are choosing to experiment with prescription drug abuse because they're definitely easy to get, if only overcoming addiction was just as easy.
We talk about how prevalent prescription drug addiction is but we don't realize just how many babies are born throughout the United States addicted to opiates. Did you know that every hour throughout the U.S. there is a precious baby that's born dependent on opiate drugs? ScienceDaily reports that NAS which stands for neonatal abstinence syndrome between the year 2000 and 2009 nearly tripled among newborns. Babies are born every day experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to being exposed to addictive opiates while in the womb.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a drug withdrawal syndrome that newborns experience when they're born addicted to drugs. The withdrawal symptoms newborns experience when their mothers are abusing opiate drugs or any other substance after they're born are extremely uncomfortable and serious.
I wish young girls and adult women only realized just how serious this can be for their baby and that they would receive help for their opiate use before they become pregnant. I realize that not everyone plans to get pregnant but if they do, they owe it to their unborn child to be honest with their physician and get help for their opiate addiction or any other substance they abuse.
Prescription opiate painkillers are still just way too easy to get from doctors and healthcare providers even though many of them are very careful and cautious today. To me it's just as important for patients to be responsible as it is for our physicians and other healthcare providers.
To think that an adorable newborn has to pay the price by starting off their life suffering from opiate withdrawal symptoms because their mother was abusing pain medications during their pregnancy is unbelievably sad. I think most of the time young girls and adult women are afraid to be honest with their physicians about their drug use and I do understand that, but it's not just about them now. There is a beautiful unborn innocent baby to think about now.
Maybe it will help if teenage girls and young and older women understand the symptoms associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which doesn't just include babies born to mothers who are addicted to opiate drugs. NAS is a syndrome that newborns can experience when their mother uses prescription drugs or illegal drugs including marijuana during their pregnancy. Depending on the addictive drug that's been used during pregnancy NAS symptoms can be intense and include:
- Excessive sucking
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Increased muscle tone
- Problems sleeping
- Born with low birth weight
- Problems gaining weight
- Breathing problems
- Extreme crying
- Eating problems
I know no one sets out to intentionally hurt their unborn child when they're dependent on any kind of drug but the fact is, when you're abusing alcohol or other substances during pregnancy your putting your baby's health at risk. They're going to suffer after they're born and possibly for the remainder of their life. Remember, when you're high during pregnancy, the baby is too and when you're experiencing symptoms of withdrawal during pregnancy, the baby is too. Don't let your babies first experience after birth include intense symptoms of withdrawal, be honest with yourself and your physician and get help.