Rising Number of Babies Born Addicted to Prescription Drugs in Florida

A growing number of babies born in Florida are addicted to prescription drugs. Doctors and nurses say they are seeing more babies addicted to prescription pills their mothers took during pregnancy. CNN reports that the state recorded 635 such births in the first half of 2010.

The babies “go through withdrawal symptoms,” Head Nurse Mary Osuch of Broward General Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit told CNN. “They’re crampy, miserable. They sweat. They can have rapid breathing. Sometimes, they can even have seizures.”

For the past two years, prescription drug addiction has been more prevalent than crack addiction among the pregnant women being treated at the Susan B. Anthony Recovery Center near Fort Lauderdale, according to Marsha Currant, who runs the center. She says pregnant women who are addicted to prescription drugs are often hesitant to get help because they fear their babies will be taken away. She notes that pregnant women who are addicted to prescription drugs need to be weaned from the drugs under medical supervision to avoid having the fetus go through withdrawal in the womb.

In May, Florida officials met with health care executives to discuss how to protect babies born to women addicted to prescription drugs. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said that many pregnant women do not realize the dangers that drugs such as oxycodone and Xanax pose to their unborn babies.

    User Picture

    Sherrie Anderson

    March 19, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Do you have any figures on how many addicted pregnant women that delivered addicted babies, were on any state funded aid for this year or any other year? I’m doing a research paper for college and could really use such numbers. Thanks so much.

    User Picture

    Steven Gerard

    October 20, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    Prescription drug addiction such as the Psychological- and/or Chemical Dependence on pharmaceuticals has become an increasingly escalating problem among people within all classes of society. According to statistics that were recently published on the internet, we may conclude that prescription drug addiction is increasingly exceeding other known addictions such as the consumption of alcoholic beverages, and the frequent abuse of illegal class I controlled substances.

    Steven Gerard

    User Picture


    July 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Exactly, babies by definition cannot be born “addicted” I wish Join together would be more careful in their titles since this just adds to the opiate hysteria. And the misinformation that is rampant about opiate addiction.

    User Picture

    N. Cripe4

    July 29, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    This article and its title is factually wrong and misleading. Babies cannot be born with the disease process of addiction already established. Rather, these are babies who are exhibiting the symptoms of drug withdrawal at birth. Withdrawal does not equate addiction and this confusion of the two persists in the minds of both the general public and health professionals who ought to be more informed and discriminating.

    Withdrawal symptoms simply show that the baby was exposed in utero to a drug that can lead to physiological dependence. When the drug is withdrawn, the body withdraws. This may be very unpleasant, even life-threatening in some cases, but it is not a sign of addiction. The writer of this article (and the publisher of it) should review the criteria for an addiction diagnosis.

    In addition, more precision about which drug or drugs is involved would be helpful. I would presume that the babies mentioned are all withdrawing from opiates given the withdrawal symptoms described, the location (FL), and the context (rising rates of use and abuse of prescription opiates nationwide). But “prescription drugs” is a very, very broad term. Which ones are meant here?

Leave a Comment

Please leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion. If you have a specific question, please contact a Parent Specialist, who will provide you with one-on-one help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *