The number of U.S. women who gave birth addicted to opioids has quadrupled in the last 15 years, increasing the number of infants who face a long, painful withdrawal at birth, according to new government data. There is vast regional variation.
The number of U.S. women who gave birth addicted to opioids has quadrupled in the last 15 years, increasing the number of infants who face a long, painful withdrawal at birth, according to new government data reported by The Guardian. There is vast regional variation. While the rate of women who gave birth addicted to opioids in Hawaii matched the national average, the rate increased 53-fold in West Virginia. “These findings illustrate the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on families across the U.S., including on the very youngest,” said Dr Robert Redfield of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Untreated opioid use disorder during pregnancy can lead to heartbreaking results. Each case represents a mother, a child and a family in need of continued treatment and support.”
The report jibes with other research which has shown a disturbing rise in infants exposed to drugs and forced to withdraw at birth. It may also reflect a greater awareness of the condition among doctors, researchers warned. Between 1999 and 2014, researchers found that the number of mothers at a hospital with an opioid addiction increased from 1.5 mothers per 1,000 deliveries to 6.5 per 1,000. Only 28 states report to the project. Nevertheless, every state that had more than three years of data showed an increase in the number of mothers addicted to opioids at delivery. States with the highest increases each year were Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia. The lowest increases were in Hawaii and California.