Number of drug dependant babies rising

Drug dependent babies are a huge problem and it's getting worse. It's a terrible statistic. Nearly 650 addicted babies born so far. At the current rate, the department of health is projecting more than 800 by the end of the year. One mom tells me raising a baby born into drugs is a painful challenge.

Eli was just a few weeks old when Catrina Beck took him in and fostered him. No one else wanted him. She adopted him as her own. Catrina Beck says, "You get very angry and you hurt for them because they didn't ask for it."

She didn't know the problems she would face two years down the road. Like most drug dependant babies, he needs physical and occupational therapy, early intervention checks. He suffers from asthma and attention and overstimulation issues. Catrina Beck says, "No impulse control and he breaks down really fast. We go to the mall and if it's busy he can't handle it it's an overload for him."

Not to mention the potential addiction problems of his own. Catrina Beck says, "I worry about it. If he just tries it anything that one time he'll be hooked. That's scary especially because he's two and I don't know what he's going to be like at 15."

So when she heard the news that 643 babies were already born dependant in Tennessee this year she was discouraged. Even more than the whole year when Eli was born. Data shows the majority of these births involved a mother taking medicine prescribed by a doctor.

In reviewing reportable information of mothers delivering drug dependent newborns thus far this year, data show:

42.1 percent used only substances prescribed to them for legitimate treatment
20.4 percent used a mix of prescribed and non-prescribed substances
33.4 percent used substances obtained through illegal sources
4.0 percent were unable to provide the exact source of substances

TennCare costs for a healthy newborn were $4,237. The average cost for an infant born dependent on drugs, diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, NAS, was $66,973.

The state is calling for better conversations between young women and their doctors.


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