In the United States, painkillers are on top of the most purchased and consumed drugs. With such a huge consumption, it is obvious there would be some side effects. Unfortunately, those side effects impact babies. According to a recent study, the number of babies born addicted to painkillers is on the rise, with one addicted baby being born each hour in the United States.
Painkillers have become almost essential in today’s fast paced society. We are so afraid of pain that we’d take any kind of pill just to find fast relief. But that comfort is costing the overall society by impacting the younger generations. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association points out to a terrifying issue: new born babies are addicted to painkillers and suffering from drug withdrawal.
The study at hand showed that between 2000 and 2009, the number of babies born addicted to painkillers has tripled. Researchers claim that every hour in the United States a baby is born suffering from painkiller withdrawal. On the overall, we are talking about some 13,500 new born babies each year that have to suffer from their moms’ decisions to take prescription painkillers.
If on the overall, this is bad news, for drug companies it means that sales have been booming. The study pointed out that during the nine years Oxycontin and the like have known a boost in consumption. The number of women taking prescription painkillers has quintupled.
Lead author of the study Dr. Stephen Patrick emphasized “this is really a public health emergency”. He explained that during the nine-year study period, researchers observed the costs of taking care of babies suffering from drug withdrawal have spiked to some $720 million per year, compared to only $190 million at the beginning of the decade.
Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University, talked with Time about the study. From his point of view, the “study raises more questions than it answered”, shutting it down for failing to take into account the fact there are women taking prescription painkillers for medical reasons at their physicians’ recommendations.
However, be it drug misuse or not, putting at risk the baby’s health should be enough to have mothers think twice about what they’re taking in.