The number of babies being born that suffer from withdrawal of opiates, a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome, is increasing.
Babies born with the condition scream out in pain, are irritable and uncomfortable, have difficulty sleeping, and suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. Other more serious side effects include problems with growth and development as well as seizures.
Coupled with the increasing frequency of neonatal abstinence syndrome is a growing divide in the number of babies born with the condition as well as complications of births involving maternal opioid use between rural and urban women.
Rural women are giving birth to more babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome than urban women and they are experiencing more compilations, prompting some to call for better and more accessible methods of treatment for addicts in rural areas.
As I was researching the topic I thought that mothers who were addicts should be prevented from having children, and then I realized that that solution was not an option. No institution can force a woman not to have a baby if she chooses to (rightfully so), and there’s nothing that can be done to take the baby out of a dangerous environment until after it’s born.
I then realized the only solution would be to rehabilitate addicts to prevent their babies from having neonatal abstinence syndrome or any other birth defect. If the treatment is made accessible it is likely that many women will opt to take it, because if they really do want to keep their children they would do everything in their power to make sure that they were healthy and safe.