The number of babies born addicted to drugs is rising in Ohio and right here in the Ohio Valley.
Health officials say they are seeing even more cases like this.
Local physician Dr. Manuel Ballas told WTRF just how serious this issue is.
“An entire generation of addicted babies. The first time they get exposed to any type of narcotic, they’re gonna fall back in and we’re talking one-year-olds that have already been addicts,” Ballas said.
Officials say the overall increase in heroin and prescription drug abuse is responsible for the rise in addicted children. The Ohio Department of Health report states that there has been an 841 percent increase in the number of delivering mothers diagnosed with an opioid addiction.
So what is the most important thing to focus on to put an end to this? Ballas said that is it “getting these addicts off of whatever they’re addicted to and treated before becoming pregnant.”
While the number of addicted infants is on the rise, the average hospital stay for drug-dependent babies has dropped from 20 days in 2008 to under 15 days in 2013.
Many of these babies will be treated with morphine.