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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Research published today in the medical journal JAMA is frankly alarming.

The rate of newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) in the U.S. nearly tripled over the last decade, according to a JAMA study.

Using national databases, researchers examined trends in maternal opiate use and NAS diagnoses from 2000 to 2009. Among the findings:

  • NAS diagnoses rose from 1.20 per 1000 hospital births in 2000 to 3.39 per 1000 in 2009.
  • At the same time, maternal opiate use increased almost fivefold, from 1.19 to 5.63.
  • Hospital length of stay for NAS remained relatively steady, averaging 16 days.
  • Total hospital charges for NAS rose nearly fourfold, from $190 million to $720 million.

The researchers estimated that in 2009, roughly one infant was born every hour with symptoms of drug withdrawal.

This research along with others that have been appearing on the dramatic rise of opiates, particularly those such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin and others should be causing society to be up in arms against big pharama. But it is also a wake up call that we must be looking at why addiction continues to be such a major force in our society. Prevention is going to come when we truly seek to consider:

* why families are so emotionally fractured;
* children are born into families that are so busy that true emotional presence is missing;
* sexual and physical abuse and maltreatment remain all to frequent occurrences; and
* we are societies where dominance, control and greed have taken such power over love, care, acceptance and nurturance.

Sure, there are genetic predispositions for addiction, but it is environment (e.g. family, community and society) where things like addiction emerge or not.

The cost to society of children born with NAS and FASD is enormous.

1 comment:

  1. A societal cause is worth examining. However, our society treats addiction like a annoyance rather than a social issue. For example OxyNeo, a new opiate the pharmas have created to replace Oxycontin and to prevent drug users from breaking down the drug for injection. Will this stop drug use? Will this address addiction? Sadly, NO
    Peter is completely right, we must look deeper.