Unborn Babies Are Becoming Addicted to Terrifying Drug

pill bottleRemember the controversy over crack babies? As tragic and widespread as the problem of infants born to crack-addicted mothers was, I'm afraid that what's going on now has the potential to be worse. That's because crack, despite its prevalence, was at least an illegal drug. Today's "Oxy" babies, infants born addicted to OxyContin, Oxycodone, and other painkillers, are born hooked on a perfectly legal drug that was probably, at some point, legitimately prescribed to their mothers. Maybe even on a long-term basis.

In fact, it's quite possible that the moms of these babies didn't even realize they were addicted to their meds ... until they found out they were pregnant and tried to stop taking them.

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I've heard many people with firsthand knowledge refer to OxyContin as the single most addictive substance available. Not only that, but users can get hooked shockingly fast and the withdrawal is nothing short of nightmarish.

Now remind yourself that while Oxy is rampantly abused as a street drug, it's just as often picked up at the pharmacy with an official doctor's script, covered under health insurance and stored in the bathroom cabinet next to the antacids and dental floss. The next best thing to morphine for chronic, severe pain, Oxy is often used to treat patients with back and neck injuries. Think about how common back and neck injuries are ... it all starts to make sense.

Sure, there are the "controlled substance" warnings on the bottle and the general public consensus that Oxy is powerful stuff, but there's no reason why a woman who trusted her doctor in general and didn't have personal experience with the hellishness of opiod addiction would refuse to take the medication, particularly if she were suffering from unrelenting pain.

And so the cycle begins, unwittingly ... and by the time a woman realizes she needs help, she's too ashamed to ask for it. Particularly if she's pregnant -- what if they took the baby out of her custody right after delivery? Better to not mention it and try to stop on her own ... except, it's not that easy.

It's a heartbreaking scenario for all involved, and I won't pretend to have the answer. But I do think, at the very least, that women should be made to feel safer about admitting that they need help with any type of addiction. Breeding an environment of shame and self-hatred won't help to heal anyone, not mothers, not babies.

Do you think more and more babies will be born addicted to OxyContin?

 

Image via David Steltz/Flickr

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