A child is born addicted to drugs every 25 minutes in America.
Yes – you read that correctly. Every 25 minutes.
How can a baby be addicted, you ask?
Simple – a pregnant mom passes the drugs she takes through the placenta, the umbilical cord, and right into a developing fetus’ bloodstream. And just as the mom becomes dependent on those drugs – so does the fetus.
When the umbilical cord is severed – the supply of drugs is cut abruptly, sending newborn addicts into violent withdrawal. It’s called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a condition that causes the child almost inconceivable distress. And the consequences of this early addiction are profound – and, in some cases, affect the child’s long-term mental and physical health.
Can’t women stop taking opioids or heroin once they learn they’re pregnant?
Sadly – not without help. Quitting abruptly can cause a miscarriage, and relapses can lead to dangerous and sometimes fatal overdoses.
As the number of addicted moms has risen in the U.S. – the demand for care that can safely treat drug abuse in pregnancy has also increased.
Currently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a standard of care for pregnant women using prescription painkillers or heroin that calls for maintenance treatment with opioid addiction medications methadone or buprenorphine in conjunction with behavioral therapy and medical services. Abstaining from drugs without medication is not recommended because of the high risk to the mother of relapse and overdose.
Aren’t these drugs dangerous for the fetus?
To a point – but physicians currently believe the risk to the mother of relapse and fatal overdose far outweighs the danger to the child.
Preventing addiction has to be part of the solution as well. Physicians can help by strenuously avoiding prescribing opioid drugs to women of childbearing age. These drugs are the most dangerously addictive class of drugs on earth.
One thing is sure. Women of childbearing age struggling with addictions to drugs and or alcohol need to seek effective treatment as soon as possible to avoid the dangerous challenges they’ll face if they become pregnant while addicted. They need to do it for their sake – and for the sake of their unborn children.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. And we come to you, regardless of where you live. Our unique in-home treatment model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. Please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists to learn more.