US sees sud­den spike in preg­nant women ad­dicted to painkillers

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Alert -

OVER the past 15 years, the United States has seen a four­fold in­crease in preg­nant women ad­dicted to painkillers, the lat­est trou­bling statis­tic in an on­go­ing epi­demic of opi­oid abuse, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day. The re­port by the US Cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion is the first major na­tional study of its kind and re­vealed “sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in the 28 states with avail­able data” from 1999 to 2014.

“These find­ings il­lus­trate the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact of the opi­oid epi­demic on fam­i­lies across the US, in­clud­ing on the very youngest,” said CDC Di­rec­tor Robert Red­field. “Un­treated opi­oid use dis­or­der dur­ing preg­nancy can lead to heart­break­ing re­sults.”

Women who abuse opi­oids while preg­nant risk ma­ter­nal death, preterm birth, and still­birth. Their ba­bies, if born alive, are of­ten ad­dicted to the po­tent drugs them­selves and must go through a pe­riod of painful with­drawal known as neona­tal ab­sti­nence syn­drome.

“Opi­oid use by preg­nant women rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic health con­cern,” said the CDC re­port. Na­tion­wide, the rate of women with “opi­oid use dis­or­der” ar­riv­ing at hos­pi­tals to de­liver their ba­bies “in­creased from 1.5 per 1,000 de­liv­ery hos­pi­tal­iza­tions in 1999 to 6.5 in 2014,” it said. The re­port did not spec­ify what kinds of opi­oids the women were us­ing.

The United States is grap­pling with a surg­ing epi­demic of opi­oid abuse -- in­clud­ing painkillers like OxyCon­tin and street drugs like heroin -- which took more than 42,000 lives in 2016. The CDC said ex­ces­sive pre­scrib­ing prac­tices by doc­tors could be a fac­tor in opi­oid abuse, and called for in­creased ef­forts to pre­vent women from be­com­ing ad­dicted and help them get treat­ment. – Re­laxnews

Women who abuse opi­oids while preg­nant risk ma­ter­nal death, preterm birth, and still­birth.– iS­tock photo

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