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Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and the Innocent Victims of Drug Abuse

Many individuals from Riverside, Calif. to the East Coast are becoming increasingly aware of the problems posed by the abuse of drugs and alcohol by pregnant women, as well as the need for drug rehab in overcoming these addictions. Unfortunately, many continue to misuse these substances while pregnant, leading to the development of neonatal abstinence syndrome in their infant, which can have serious repercussions.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome most commonly develops because of the mother’s abuse of heroin or another opiate. The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that these substances are then absorbed by the unborn child through the placenta, causing the baby to be born with an addiction of its own.

The effects of the child’s addiction can manifest with several serious side effects, including seizures, fever and rapid breath. These babies also frequently suffer from poor feeding habits and grow slower than normal. Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome often need special medicines and other treatments to overcome their addiction. In many cases, this process can take up to six months.

The abuse of other drugs and alcohol can also cause problems for newborns, including birth defects and even sudden infant death syndrome. For prospective mothers in Riverside and elsewhere, undergoing a drug rehab program and getting clean is something that will not only benefit the mother herself—but also her future child.