NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A task force of state health officials is trying to reverse an alarming rise in the number of Tennessee babies born addicted to drugs.
Babies born wiith addictions often spending many days in the hospital as they go through the painful withdrawal process.
Dr. Adam Huggins, an OB-GYN at Summit Medical Center, says he’s definitely seen an increase in the number of drug addicted newborns. He says it’s physically hard on the child and emotionally difficult for the medical staff that cares for them.
“The babies are at risk for seizures, poor weight gain, respiratory problems, vomiting, diarrhea, and it’s essentially because they’re going through withdrawal from the opiate or narcotic or medication that they were getting indirectly from their mother."
The Health Department reports that the number of drug addicted babies born in Tennessee increased tenfold between 2000 and 2010.
To combat the growing problem, the state will begin requiring hospitals to report babies born with addictions beginning on Jan. 1.