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More Babies Born Drug Dependent In Rural Areas

An in-state study earlier this year found that one in five newborns tested positive for opioids.

Photo: WiLPrZ (Wikimedia Commons)

An in-state study earlier this year found that one in five newborns tested positive for opioids.

A new study finds an alarming increase in the number of newborns dependent on drugs. The new research shows the number of newborns drug dependent increased nearly fivefold since 2000. Rural areas were especially hard hit – nationally, up to 21% of infants are born suffering from withdrawal.

An in-state study earlier this year found that one in five newborns tested positive for opioids. And Indiana Rural Health Association Network Development Officer Deena Dodd says the trend is evident in the state’s rural counties.

“We are seeing huge numbers on the east side of the state, specifically in Wayne, Fayette and some of the other counties.” Says Dodd.

The infants in the JAMA Pediatrics report are born dependent on drugs their mother took during pregnancy. Dodd says this can be especially heartbreaking.

“The process that the infant goes through for withdrawal is excruciating, it is tragically painful for that baby.” Dodd says.

The disparity of the issue is further magnified because Indiana has a lack of counties with rural hospitals that have obstetrics units.

Dodd says many Hoosier women want to quit.

“I’ve seen a number of mothers who desperately want to stop using while they’re pregnant,” says Dodd, “but the process of withdrawal is so excruciating, it’s simply not feasible.”

 

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