In Northern Maine a mother was abusing opiates, specifically OxyContin during the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy. The result was her 3-day old baby going through opiate withdrawal and in need of methadone treatment to help cope with its severe pain.
Because the long term affects that a mother’s opiate addiction can cause to a newborn child if the addicted mother doesn’t miscarriage, very few doctors are willing to treat pregnant ladies who are addicted to opiates such as heroin or OxyContin. For the doctor that is willing to treat an addicted pregnant lady they face a serious moral and ethical dilemma. They are forced to ask themselves whether or not treatment is worth the danger that it may cause the unborn child. In some instances doctors who were willing to treat a pregnant lady for opiate addiction and even wrote a script were questioned by pharmacies.
In Maine where prescription drug abuse is a major problem the number of babies born with opiate withdrawals otherwise known as neonatal abstinence syndrome has grown nearly four hundred percent over the past 6 years. These are astonishing figures and other states such as Florida are also reporting drastic increases of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Progress is extremely slow for treating these babies who innocently suffer from opiate withdrawal. “It’s really remarkable how little we know about the effect of prescription drugs and even nonprescription drugs on the fetus,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse. “There are real roadblocks in terms of helping us advance the field.”
One of the main reasons why doctors are reluctant to treat pregnant women who are addicted to opiates is because many hospitals will not deliver a baby that is going to be born addicted to opiates. It is important for a pregnant opiate addict to know that it’s never too late to get help for their addiction through opiate addiction treatment and medical professionals. No matter what the circumstances are it is always possible to change the course of a life with the help of the proper addiction treatment center.
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