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Monday, April 11, 2011

Babies Born On Prescription Drugs


A mother's body is the temple where life is created in this world; whatever a mother consumes during pregnancy influences the development and well being of the child growing inside of her. Every year, a large number of babies are born into this world with a disadvantage, a dependency to drugs that the mother consumed during pregnancy. Many babies pass on into the next life from complications of being exposed to drugs in utero, but, some babies have enough strength to put up a good fight with assistance from doctors and nurses. One such baby fighting for its life as these very words are typed is a 3-day-old baby going through opiate withdrawal in a hospital in Maine and doctors are giving the baby methadone, a drug best known for treating heroin addiction which helps with the pain.

Opiate pain medications have one of the highest abuse rates in the United States; it comes as little surprise that women dependent on drugs like Oxycontin, a powerful opiate, would get pregnant. As was the case with the mother of the baby in Maine, she had abused prescription painkillers like Oxycontin acquired on the street for the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy. Then to make matters worse, she tried to quit cold turkey which according to doctors can be a dangerous course, resulting in miscarriage. When the mother, whose name is Tonya, tried to quit the baby had seizures in utero, which is when Tonya turned to a methadone treatment, for her cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Babies born hooked on prescription medications is reminiscent of the babies born in the '80's addicted to cocaine. There is no easy way for a doctor to care for a pregnant woman addicted to drugs; many doctors will refuse to treat pregnant women who are dependent on prescription opiates. Those doctors who are willing to treat such patients must determine whether the negative side effects the drugs will have on the fetus is justifiable.

“I’ve had pharmacies that have just called back and said: ‘This lady’s pregnant. Why do you want me to fill this scrip? I can’t do that,’ ” said Dr. Craig Smith, a family practitioner in Bridgton, Me. “But when you stop and think about what actually happens during withdrawal and how violent it can be, that would certainly be not in the baby’s best interest.”

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