Massachusetts Facing Epidemic of Drug-Addicted Newborns | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Massachusetts Facing Epidemic of Drug-Addicted Newborns

Due to the overall rise of opiate use, Massachusetts has seen a stark rise in the number of babies born addicted to drugs. And without federal help, hospitals are left to their own devices.

Image: 

Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

04/01/14

| Share

The drug addiction issues plaguing Massachusetts aren’t just limited to teenagers and adults. Roughly 1,300 babies in the state were born in 2012 with “neonatal abstinence syndrome," which involves withdrawal symptoms from illegal opiates such as heroin or prescription drugs such as Oxycontin or methadone, and those numbers are expected to have increased last year. Several hospitals throughout the state are reporting double and triple the number of drug-addicted babies being admitted in 2013 compared to 2012.

Because there are no federally approved medications or standard procedures to follow for drug-addicted babies, hospitals are left to improvise treatment plans. Once these newborns and infants are treated, they are often placed back in the custody of their parents struggling with addiction. At Boston Medical Center, 85 percent of the 106 babies suffering from drug withdrawal are returned to their parents.

“We have real concerns about these extremely vulnerable newborns,’’ said Gail Garinger, head of the state’s Office of the Child Advocate. “Unfortunately, with some families there are not enough supports that can be put in place to keep their infants safely at home.”

Robert Sege, medical director of the Child Protection Team at Boston Medical Center, said that one-third of the parents who receive treatment for their addictions afterwards end up relapsing; within a year, their children are placed in the foster care system. More than 50 percent of children in state foster care are placed with relatives, but this often means they are unable to be shielded from their drug-addicted parents. Child welfare advocates in the state have also criticized the well-intended efforts of social workers to keep dysfunctional families together because it puts the kids at greater risk for harm.

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency to combat the increasing abuse of opiates and referred it to as an epidemic. He declared that all of the state’s emergency personnel must be equipped with a drug to immediately reverse the effects of heroin overdoses; earlier this month, police in a suburb of Baltimore have also started carrying around the anti-heroin overdose spray known as Narcan.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv