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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ignoring the Innocent: What Have We Become?

They Scream!

"It's a very high-pitched, uncomfortable cry.

It's like the kid has been pinched."

They sweat.

They have rigid, tight muscles, and watery diarrhea.

They have tremors, seizures and breathing problems.

They have trouble feeding and resist taking a bottle.

They throw up frequently.

They are very difficult to console.

 "It's like a colicky baby times 10."

They are small and at a higher risk of death than other infants.

These Are
Newborn Babies!

One in 20 babies born in the semirural community north of Tampa is addicted to painkillers, Newport says. The number of babies treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for withdrawal from prescription painkillers has more than doubled from 37 in 2008 to 88 in 2010.

Estimates (2012) from local health officials say
2.5 in 10 babies in Scioto County are born addicted.

This Is Totally Unacceptable!

We Must Change This At Once!

 Please, Read and Learn the Following:

* "There has been an incredible increase in the number of opiate pain relievers prescribed in the U.S. We think that might be part of the increase we are seeing." Duh? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

(Dr. Stephen Patrick, a fellow in the University of Michigan's Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine)

* "Women you would never guess have a problem because they are functioning in society come in (pregnant and) addicted."

(Dr. Aimee Bohn, pediatrician with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg, Kentucky)

* "The epidemic of drug-addicted newborns really follows exactly from the spread of the pill mills, the ability to buy prescription drugs like OxyContin on the street, to get them on the Internet."
(Lewis Rubin, director of newborn services at Tampa General Hospital and chairman of neonatology at the University of South Florida)

* "There's a misconception that because these are prescription drugs, they aren't going to be harmful to the baby."

(Mary Newport, medical director of neonatal intensive care at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Spring Hill, Florida)

* "Doctors want to intervene early to get pregnant addicts into rehabilitation. But some expectant mothers hide their addictions from their obstetricians because they fear government social workers will take the child."
(Ken Solomon, director of neonatology at three hospitals in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida area)

* "Two-thirds of the time at least, the mothers don't reveal their drug-using history"

(Dr. Jonathan R. Wispe, neonatologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio)

* A pregnant woman can't quit cold turkey because as she goes into withdrawal, the baby will, too. The baby could have seizures in the womb. They can miscarry."

(Mary Newport, medical director of neonatal intensive care at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Spring Hill, Florida)

* “Most of the literature suggests consistently that the drug exposure itself is not the primary concern. It’s the cumulative effect of the drug-using lifestyle — poverty, chaos in the home, domestic violence. All those things affect development.”

(Karol Kaltenbach, professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia who studies addiction in pregnant women)

* "I didn't go to medical school to become a pain management doctor for a newborn. It's been thrust upon us. We feel very, very sorry for the babies, and it's very, very difficult for us to understand why these young women think it's OK. Most are addicted before they get pregnant."

(Mary Newport, medical director of neonatal intensive care at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Spring Hill, Florida)

* "The experience of opiate withdrawal is the most painful and most difficult of any withdrawal syndrome. It's hell. It's physical, emotional and spiritual hell."

(Mark Publicker, addiction medicine specialist from Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine)

The Future?

The number of pregnant women with addictions to narcotic painkillers has grown so rapidly that Mercy Hospital Recovery Center in Portland, Maine, developed a specialized treatment program for them, says Mark Publicker.
The moms-to-be spend a month in a six-hours-a-day program before stepping down to three hours daily, Publicker says. About half the babies born don't have any withdrawal, he says. The other half have mild withdrawal.

At Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, doctors screen every pregnant woman for opiate abuse. "We feel that the incidence is high enough that it's a reasonable screening test," says Jay Hagerty, a neonatologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

In the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, doctors and nurses are trained to look for signs of addiction in pregnant women, such as problems controlling pain with normal doses of medicine. "We've had to give some women five times the normal dose of narcotics," Solomon says.

Much of the prognosis for babies exposed to prescription painkillers is drawn from long experience with children exposed to heroin, an opiate that has many of the same characteristics as the narcotic painkillers. Most of those children, over time, catch up to their peers, although some have learning difficulties and attention deficit problems, doctors say.
Few long-term studies have followed children exposed to the prescription painkillers.

"We don't know as much as we need to know," Solomon says. "What also confounds it is the home situation. We don't know what happens when they leave the hospital."
The average hospital stay for a baby born withdrawing from painkillers is 16 days, according to the JAMA study, and 77% of the time, babies with NAS were charged under state Medicaid programs.

"What we found is that the total U.S. hospital bill quadrupled over the time frame (2000-2009) nearing 720 million dollars," said Patrick. "That is extra incentive for state governments to engage in developing solutions to prevent this."

Is this a Birthday "present" wc can help avoid?
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