The rate of babies born addicted to opioids increased by 538 percent between 2006 and 2015 in Missouri, according to a disturbing new study warning the problem is rapidly getting worse.
At least eight in every 1,000 babies born will now suffer opioid withdrawals in the state, according to a report released by the Missouri Hospital Association Tuesday. Medical experts say the situation is rapidly deteriorating, driven by the national opioid epidemic and the continued over-prescribing of pain medication to expecting mothers, reports Fox 4.
Babies born with opioid dependence are more prone to seizures, will have trouble feeding and cry excessively in their first few days.
“I think it goes back to how we’ve been prescribing opioids to adults particularly to pregnant mothers,” Dr. Krishna Dummula, a neonatologist at the University of Kansas Hospital, told Fox 4. “The threshold to treat pain has dramatically gone down over the years, which is why you’ve seen a five-fold increase in the amount of expecting mothers being on opioid medications of some sort.”
Officials in some states are moving to place greater limits on the number of opioids doctors are allowed to prescribe and a stricter system for tracking patients, in an effort to limit doctor shopping. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland is the latest to signal he will press the legislature for a bill placing limits on the number of opioid prescriptions a doctor can write. (Read more from “The Rate of Babies Born Addicted to Opioids Is Skyrocketing” HERE)