People who struggle with prescription drug abuse often do not fully comprehend the toxic effects of drugs like pain narcotics and sedatives. A number of female addicts who are uneducated as to the serious harm posed by such drugs will make the choice to head down the road to childbirth. They will continue taking the drugs through the duration of the pregnancy, failing to realize that when the child is born their brain and body will crave the drugs the mother was consuming. Across the country babies are being born everyday with a dependency to one drug or another and sometimes a whole cocktail. Last year in Florida an estimated 1,300 babies were treated for drug withdrawal in Florida, up by 30 percent from the year before. Florida officials are now scrambling to find a solution to the problem at hand, for fear that the trend will continue.
Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi, stated that many pregnant women do not realize the dangers that drugs such as oxycodone and Xanax pose to their unborn babies, The Miami Herald reports. The Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Bondi met with officials from BayCare Health System to identify the problem and find a way to fix it. Bondi plans to team up with the St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa with the goal of starting a national task force which would work to educate women about the dangers of prescription drugs. Some women addicted to prescription drugs have been prescribed methadone during pregnancy in an attempt to keep them from doing other drugs by reducing the cravings, according to the report.
Babies exposed to narcotics in utero typically experience these symptoms:
- stiff limbs
30 days in a neonatal intensive care unit is the typical stay for babies born dependent to prescription drugs.