Friday, April 11, 2014

Drug-Addicted Newborns on the Rise In Massachusetts

In 2012, nearly 1,300 babies in Massachusetts were born with “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” which entails withdrawal symptoms from heroin or prescription drugs like methadone, or Oxycontin. Many hospitals report triple the number of drug-addicted infants in 2013.

Currently, there aren’t any federally approved medications or procedures hospitals follow to help drug-addicted infants. After the babies are treated, many times they are placed back in the care of their parents who struggle from addiction. At Boston Medical  Center,  85 percent of the 106 babies who agonize through withdrawal are returned to their parents.

Gail Garinger, head of the state’s Office of the Child Advocate has concerns about the highly vulnerable infants. She states, “unfortunately, with some families there are not enough supports that can be put in place to keep their infants safely at home.”

Medical director of the Child Protection Team at Boston Medical Center, Robert Sege, said one-third of the parents who are treated for addiction relapse within a year, so their children are placed into foster care. More than half are placed with relatives, so the parents struggling with addiction still have access to them. Child welfare workers think social workers who keep dysfunctional families together end up putting the children at risk for danger.

Addiction can ruin our lives as well as the lives of others. The choices we make as adults affect our children, and no infant deserves to go through the agony of withdrawal. You can take steps by entering a treatment center to overcome addiction and start living a healthy life. Substance abuse treatment centers offer education, therapy, and give you the tools to make good decisions so you can set your life back on track.
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