Louisville, Ky. (WHAS) – Infants born with prescription drug abuse has become a growing epidemic in the state of Kentucky.
In 2000, there were 29 infants born addicted to prescription pills. In 2011, 730 infants were born addicted to pills. In the duration of 2010 to 2011, Kentucky saw an increase of 200 more infants born addicted from year to year.
The state is seeing some of the highest rates of infants born addicted to prescription pills in the country.
Infants born addicted usually have hospital stays for about a month and the costs passed down to the state are around $50,000 although most are supported on Medicaid.
At Kosair Children's Hospital Neonatal intensive care unit downtown an estimated six to 14 infants are going through withdrawals daily.
“From 2011 to 2012 we are seeing a 40 percent increase of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome,” Mary Lynne Shackelford with Kosair Children’s Hospital said. “We now know how to recognize it. We know how to look for it in infants and that’s bringing it to the forefront.”
Infants facing withdrawal will have seizures, excessive sweating and will have trouble sleeping.
The long term effects of infants born addicted to prescription pills remain to be seen.