Opioid Exposed Children
Babies born dependent on opioids
There is an unprecedented opioid epidemic sweeping across the U.S., one that has impacted our nation’s most vulnerable. Infants born opioid-dependent will threaten the budgets of every family and every political subdivision in our country unless we act to protect them.
Opioid-dependent children will have life-long medical needs, and we can no longer ignore the burden these boys and girls are being asked to pay with their physical and mental well-being.
Our nation’s children, especially our newborns, are suffering in this nation’s clinics and hospitals from real, provable damages related to their parents’ addiction to prescription opioids.
U.S. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) births are drastically under-reported due to independent state reporting systems. Some states, like Texas, still do not report NAS statistics. Our experts believe only one in five NAS newborns are captured by this broken reporting system.
Here are the Facts*:
- National studies of Medicaid-enrolled women by the Centers for Disease Control found that 21.6% filled at least one opioid prescription during pregnancy.
- Every 15 minutes an opioid dependent baby is born in this country.
- Newborn babies experience side effects to include excessive crying, heavy sweating , diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, seizures, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite and pain as soon as 24 hours to 10 days after birth.
- Methadone or Morphine is often needed to treat infant opioid withdrawal, known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Long-term side effects include Attention Deficit Disorder, cognitive deficits, growth delays, depression and behavioral problems, and the ability to function independently.
Foster Care Impacts
- New foster care cases involving parents who are using drugs have hit the highest point in more than three decades of record-keeping, accounting for 92,000 NEW children entering the system in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- The crisis is so severe — with a 32 percent spike in drug-related cases from 2012 to 2016 — it reversed a trend that had the foster care system shrinking in size over the preceding decade.
- All told, a total of 437,000 children were in the foster care system as of Sept. 30, 2016. Child and family assistance spending related to the epidemic was about $6.1 billion in 2016.
*These facts provided by our medical expert Dr. Brent Bell