Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers: Drug Withdrawal In Infants Rising With Increased Opioid Use
January 12, 2017
Researchers at the University of Michigan recently found that over one-quarter of newborns that suffered from drug withdrawal symptoms are born in rural areas. This information was found by compiling data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Because of the results of the study, researchers have concluded that women in rural areas of the United States are in dire need of addiction counseling, prevention services and addiction treatment.
Newborns who are born with drug withdrawal symptoms are at risk for seizures, problems with sleeping and eating, crying and breathing. Some infants will suffer from tight muscle tone, hyperactive reflexes, tremors and are at a higher risk for premature birth. For many of the infants who were born with withdrawal symptoms, their mothers had been prescribed or misusing opioid drugs, such as oxycodone or other painkillers. In many cases, these women may have been reliant on illegal narcotics as well. With the United States facing an epidemic of drug addiction, especially in respect to narcotic painkillers and heroin, this is an important area to examine.
The amount of women affected by substance use issues is increasing. Another study found that there has been at least a three-time increase in the amount of women who have had to go to the hospital for neonatal intensive care due to substance use. The areas where these numbers are blaringly apparent are in the southwestern, northwestern and northeastern, rural areas of the United States. Other reports at specific hospitals show frightening numbers: some as high as nearly10% of babies being born opioid dependent.
There are times that doctors are prepared to treat opioid dependent infants. When an expectant mother reports an issue with addiction, there are treatment options. For women who are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers, they are often prescribed buprenorphine or methadone. These medications are commonly used in the treatment of opioid or heroin addiction, and when a doctor is aware that a pregnant woman is taking these medications, they are prepared to treat the infant accordingly. They do this by appropriately weaning a child off of the opioids after birth. But, for women who have not received drug treatment and may not have access to treatment options, doctors or rehabilitation centers, their children may be unexpectedly and dangerously born opioid dependent.
The results of these various studies seem to point to the same solution. In rural areas of the United States especially, drug treatment services need to be provided. In addition to that, drug use prevention services would have positive effects on the population. By making help and care available, as well as education, the number of families and children affected negatively by drug addiction could decrease greatly. Birthrates of drug-addicted infants in these areas are proving that addiction is a serious and even deadly problem. Statistics have long-shown that women are less likely to report drug addiction than their male counterparts, so prevention and treatment options are incredibly important to offer. With education, assistance, treatment and various other options meant to help, we can only hope that the number of children who suffer because of addiction begins to go down.
If you are a woman who is pregnant and believe you may have a problem with drugs, please contact a doctor. There are options and help is available. Many women have successfully stopped using drugs during pregnancy, or have received medical treatment that helps them during this difficult time.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Advocates for Victims of Opioid Addiction
If you have a legal question, call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger at 800-222-8792 or contact us online. We have been helping injured victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 70 years.