Home > Addiction, Drug Abuse, Drug Addiction, Drug Testing > Babies in Massachusetts Born Into Addiction

Babies in Massachusetts Born Into Addiction

Statewide concerns about heroin and prescription drug epidemic aren’t limited to teens and adults — tragically, children are also at higher risk for exposure to opiate use.

In 2012, 1,300 Massachusetts babies were born with “neonatal abstinence syndrome,” meaning they showed symptoms of withdrawal due to exposure to opiates like heroin or prescription drugs. Though there is no state-wide data to indicate the numbers from earlier years, several Massachusetts hospitals have reported an increase in the number of drug-dependent newborns or drug-exposed babies.

Why is this increase happening, and how is the state responding? Read on to get the details from ARCpoint Labs of Worcester.

Newborns & Drug Addiction

Overall Increases in Opiate Abuse

One factor behind the increase in addicted newborns is the overall increase in opiate abuse, both in Massachusetts and nationwide. As the drugs are becoming more prevalent, more and more pregnant women or parents are using drugs, which increases the likelihood that babies will be exposed to drugs in utero or in their homes.

Overburdened Social ServicesWorcester | Babies in Massachusetts Born Into Addiction

An overburdened social services system is also part of the problem of newborn addiction and drug-related child fatalities. Due to extreme case loads, many workers at the Department of Child and Family Services aren’t able to give addicted newborns the attention they need. Furthermore, the Department’s focus on keeping families together can sometimes be detrimental to the child’s health, resulting in injury or even death in some cases. Even when a parent has admitted to drug use during pregnancy or after a child’s birth, most of the addicted or drug-exposed newborns are returned to their parents’ care or the care of a close family member without adequate supervision.

Dealing With Newborn Drug Addiction – What Changes Must Be Made?

Clearly, the state needs to change how it handles newborn addiction, and it needs to start soon. One recent report has indicated that Massachusetts social workers need reduced caseloads and new technology to improve the supervision process. Experts also agree that the Department of Child and Family Services need more detailed guidelines on how to address an addicted child’s long-term needs — and when a family situation is dangerous enough to warrant their removal from the family.

Get Help With Newborn Drug Addiction in Worcester

If you suspect that a child is in danger due to exposure to drugs, including opiates, contact ARCpoint Labs of Worcester for a passive exposure drug test. We can provide drug testing services for social services and judicially-ordered drug tests.

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