Drugged Babies are a Growing Problem
Last week the Center for Disease Control reported a growing number of drugged infants. Babies are born addicted to opioids, particularly in rural areas. These frail newborns experience opiate withdrawal symptoms – shaking, vomiting and diarrhea.
Dr. Steven Simerville revealed that 7-10% of babies born in his hospital test positive for THC at birth. He’s the head of pediatrics at a hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, where many mothers are using marijuana. THC in breast milk poses a risk to babies’ developing brains. For this reason, one hospital in Colorado no longer recommends breast feeding.
A recent Journal of Pediatric Research published an article about infants exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke. The babies, between one month and two years of age, needed to be hospitalized for bronchiolitis. The THC showed up in their urine.
Opioids may interfere with parenting instincts. Cannabis use is often a cause of child neglect when parents forget about their children.
Against all Obstacles, We Must Keep the Mother – Child Bond
Newborn infants need to be with their mothers for their security and well-being. Newborns instantly turn to the mom’s voice and respond to her touch. it’s not possible for fathers or grandparents to sooth in the same way. The bond is crucial to a baby’s mental and emotional development. Furthermore, the World Health Organization recommends breast-feeding for the first two years of life.
Mothers of newborns, regardless of their addictions, should not be forced away from their babies. Even mothers who are in jail should not be separated from their infants and toddlers.
Last week in New Hampshire, Hope on Haven Hill opened for eight mothers struggling to overcome opioid addiction. There are at least two other such group homes in New Hampshire. There’s a need for more places like Haven Hill to support mothers and encourage them to get off of drugs.
National policy should do everything to stop maternal substance abuse in its track and to keep moms with their children. Drugged babies may grow up to have substance abuse issues. They may have difficulties in behavior and learning.
It’s a sad day in the United States when preventable drug overdose deaths kill more than 50,000 people a year. Deaths from misuse of legal and illegal drugs outnumber traffic fatalities, the next biggest cause of accidental deaths.
Congress has set up a commission to study the “failed war on drugs.” The committee will consider alternatives to prohibition. Isn’t it the fact that we have given up on prevention the real reason for our drug epidemic ?
Here’s other articles on marijuana, pregnancy and breast feeding.