The rate of opioid addiction in newborns and narcotic addiction in babies has increased drastically between 1992 and 2011, causing a growing concern among medical professionals and law enforcement in Ontario and other parts of North America. This represents an increase of 15 times the earlier rate. Opioids are very strong narcotics that are used to control pain, and these medications carry a very high potential for abuse and addiction even in adults. In 1992 the rate of opioid addiction in newborns was 0.28 for every 1,000 live births in the Ontario province, and in 2011 this rate has increased to 4.0 per every 1,000 live births. This is a big increase and shows that better treatment and management is needed with pregnant women. When a woman is pregnant then these drugs can reach the fetus and cause the unborn baby to become addicted to the drug, and when the infant is born this addiction continues and specialized treatment is needed.
Some blame he rise in opioid addiction in newborns on a liberal prescribing policy by some physicians, but there are also legitimate medical reasons why these drugs may be prescribed. When treatment is provided for a pregnant patient the physician must weigh the risk of narcotic addiction in the unborn child if drugs in the opioid category are prescribed to the pregnant woman. Any drug should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks, and opioid painkillers should be avoided if at all possible. Infants who are born with an addiction face many possible complications and developmental delays, and the tiny infant struggles with an addiction that they can not possibly understand.