A growing number of babies born in Florida are addicted to prescription drugs. Doctors and nurses say they are seeing more babies addicted to prescription pills their mothers took during pregnancy. CNN reports that the state recorded 635 such births in the first half of 2010.
The babies “go through withdrawal symptoms,” Head Nurse Mary Osuch of Broward General Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit told CNN. “They’re crampy, miserable. They sweat. They can have rapid breathing. Sometimes, they can even have seizures.”
For the past two years, prescription drug addiction has been more prevalent than crack addiction among the pregnant women being treated at the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center near Fort Lauderdale, according to Marsha Currant, who runs the center. She says pregnant women who are addicted to prescription drugs are often hesitant to get help because they fear their babies will be taken away. She notes that pregnant women who are addicted to prescription drugs need to be weaned from the drugs under medical supervision to avoid having the fetus go through withdrawal in the womb.
In May, Florida officials met with health care executives to discuss how to protect babies born to women addicted to prescription drugs. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said that many pregnant women do not realize the dangers that drugs such as oxycodone and Xanax pose to their unborn babies.