The plight of junkie America has given way to the birth of more drug addicted babies, most of which are the result of opioid use in pregnant women living in rural areas of the country, according to a new study.
The latest research, published this week in JAMA Pediatrics, shows there are more drug addicted newborns being brought into the world courtesy of doped up mothers in rural parts of the nation – a situation happening at a much higher rate than in urban locales.
Over the course of the past decade, hospitals across the nation have witnessed an insane increase of babies born addicted to drugs. Researchers say the problem in rural regions has skyrocketed from around 1.2 per 1,000 to 7.5 per 1,000 since 2014.
However, the increase in urban areas, while noticeably present—from 1.6 to 4.8 per 1,000 births—was substantially lower than in rural areas.
“While some state-level data has suggested that neonatal abstinence syndrome disproportionately affected rural counties, this is the first study to show that rural communities throughout America are particularly affected by this epidemic,” Dr. William Carey, a pediatric researcher unaffiliated with the study, told Reuters.
Not only are more babies being born with dope sickness, but a mother’s use of prescription painkillers while pregnant is also being blamed for increased complications in the delivery room. The study shows that close to one percent of the births that took place in rural portions of the country in 2013 resulted in birthing complications. In urban areas, the number was significantly lower by several percentage points.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neonatal abstinence syndrome is a condition that comes into play as a result of mothers using opioid medication during pregnancy. Babies born with this condition can suffer a variety of withdrawal symptoms, including fever and seizures, and be forced to undergo a drug treatment program straight out of the womb—a process where methadone is used to wean the newborn off narcotics.
Researchers say the latest data provides them with more insight into how the opioid epidemic has infiltrated rural America.
“Prior to our study, we had limited data from a few states like West Virginia and Tennessee that showed rising rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome in some rural counties,” lead study author Dr. Nicole Villapiano told Reuters. “What we didn’t know was how the opioid crisis has affected rural moms and their infants across the country.”
Some of the latest findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that more Americans are now using prescription painkillers than tobacco products.
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