Monday, February 9, 2015

Drug-Addicted Babies Threaten Band’s Future

Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin says the number of babies born addicted to opioids “is currently the single greatest threat to the future of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.”

A study published in 2012 found that between 2000 and 2009 the incidence of opioid-addicted newborns nationwide increased threefold and the number of mothers using or dependent on opioids rose fivefold, numbers consistent with the increase in opioid use and abuse in the U.S. population as a whole.

Opiates are drugs derived from opium. Opioid used to refer to synthetic opiates only, but now the term is often used to refer to both opiates and opioids. Opioids include opium, heroin, morphine, Oxycontin, methadone, buprenorphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid, meperidine, Demerol and others.

Opioid-addicted babies may show symptoms at birth or may develop symptoms over the next several days. These symptoms occur because the child is withdrawing from the drug that it had received in utero from its mother, who was using the drug during her pregnancy. The symptoms may include a high-pitched cry, jitteriness, tremors, convulsions, sweating, fever, mottling, excessive sucking or rooting, poor feeding, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the article “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome,” by Ashraf H. Hamdan et al.


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