ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A new University of Michigan study finds one in five babies born in the United States is addicted to an opiate drug like Vicodin.

Dr. Stephen Patrick who led the study, found that as the country’s use of prescription drugs has grown… so have the number of babies born with addictions.

“From 2000-2009 opiate use or abuse during the pregnancy grew by three fold,” said Patrick.

Patrick says that signs of withdrawl are seen within days of birth. The first sign of trouble is the cry, “Often you can tell them from other newborns in the ICU even just by standing out in the hall and hearing them – the character of their cry,” Patrick said.

The long term effects are still being studied says Patrick.

“There are studies to suggest that there are developmental problems later on, but there are other studies that suggest there are no problems later on,” said Patrick. “My hope is that this study will draw attention to this issue.”

The average length of hospital stay is 16 days at a cost of about $53,000 for these babies.

The study appears in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.


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