Drug addiction in infants and toddlers is a horrifying but common occurrence. It is also completely preventable. This raises a host of issues concerning how to handle cases where pregnant or nursing women abuse illicit drugs. In many cases the children are taken away from the mother – causing severe stress to both the baby and the mother – and in other cases the mother is incarcerated. Some addicted mothers are even incarcerated with their babies, while others take their babies home from the hospital and continue abusing drugs. But while some people may debate the psychological aspect of addiction in babies, the fact remains that they can become physically dependent upon a drug and experience acute withdrawal upon cessation. This can result in serious and potentially life-long complications for both mother and child.,The prevalence of drug addiction in babies is surprisingly high and logically corresponds to rates of drug use. Where drug use problems are epidemic, the occurrence of addicted infants is also epidemic. According to the Huffington Post;,”Nearly one in 10 babies were born addicted to drugs last year in southern Ohio’s Scioto County.”,And the problem is as bad or worse in Florida. The Orlando Sentinel Reports:,”The number of babies treated at Florida hospitals for drug-withdrawal syndrome continued to skyrocket last year, further evidence of the far-reaching impact of the state’s prescription-drug epidemic.,In 2010, 1,374 babies were born addicted to drugs because their mothers were users – a 42 percent increase from the year prior.”,Other states like Maine and Vermont have extremely high rates of prescription and illicit drug addiction, so it’s likely that figures for infants that are born addicted to drugs in those states are just as high as in Florida and Ohio. And because the states with the highest rates of dependent babies are also states that generally have underfunded public health services, this problem is likely to remain constant.,The risks and consequences of drug addiction in infants and toddlers are astounding and include learning disabilities, physical deformations, cardiovascular and circulatory problems and mental retardation. Some of these issues resolve as the child gets older while some affect them into adulthood. An article in the Journal of the National Medical Association titled “Behavior and Development Patterns in Children Born to Heroin-Addicted and Methadone-Addicted Mothers” describes some of these risks in detail:,”Toddlers of opiate addicted mothers were found to be highly energetic, talkative, and easily distracted, with brief attention spans. Their goal-directedness was brief. Some studies suggested that the toddlers had immature object manipulation, especially with regard to fine motor skills. Cognitive, speech, and perceptual disturbances were noted. Sleep disturbances also occurred.”,However, all of these risks can be completely mitigated by educating mothers about the dangerous effects that addiction can have on infants. Treatment is widely available and in most cases a mother that is making efforts to get help for her problem will have a better chance or avoiding legal consequences. To learn more or to speak to a drug addiction expert right now, please click one of the links below.

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