Pain killer addictions reach new victims

The nation's growing problem with pain killer addictions has reached its tiniest victims, newborns.  A ten year study at the University of Michigan has reviewed the hospital records from across the United States, and found the number of newborns with symptoms of drug withdrawal tripled between 2000 and 2009.

Dr. Stephen Patrick said, "By 2009, that number exceeded 13,000 or about one baby born per hour with signs of drug withdrawal."

The study didn't look at the exact drugs taken during pregnancy, but researchers also found the number of mothers using or abusing opiate painkillers, like Vicodin, Methodone, and Oxycontin, has skyrocketed since the year 2000.

The report in the journal of the American Medical Association says the cost for treating these infants reached more than 700 million dollars in 2009.  Since those babies may stay in the hospital for weeks or months while they're weaned of the narcotics. The journal adds the safest pain killer to take during pregnancy continues to be acetaminophen, which is basically Tylenol.

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