Opioid addiction is growing in the United States and reports have included pictures of those who fatally overdosed on prescription medications, illicit drugs or a combination of those.
A lesser-known image is the newborn baby who is extremely irritable, crying inconsolably and having feeding issues because the child is going through withdrawal.
They literally inherit the drug problem – babies born with an addiction to opioids because of their mothers’ use, whether of prescription drugs or illegal drugs.
Doctors call it neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, as being born technically is forced sudden withdrawal. Narcotics such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone are the most common drugs involved, but stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine and, sedatives and antidepressants also can cause problems.
Dena Hubbard of Sunflower Neonatology Associates, who is medical director of the NICU at Centerpoint Medical Center, said she’s noticed more cases of NAS in recent years, particularly in Kansas at the Overland Park Regional Medical Center, but now a few cases in Eastern Jackson County at Centerpoint.
Overland Park Regional Medical Center is a Center of Excellence in Education and Training for Substance-exposed Infants and Their Families by the Vermont Oxford Network (VON). Learn more about our Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program.