Four babies a week born hooked on drugs
ALMOST 600 babies have been born addicted to drugs in Scotland since 2015, figures released using Freedom of Information laws have revealed.
Data from health boards showed 584 infants – the equivalent of almost four a week – were delivered suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) over the period.
The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the figures, said they showed why Scotland needed to have a “more progressive” policy for dealing with drug abuse.
Health spokesman Alex ColeHamilton said: “On average, a baby is born every other day in Scotland addicted to harmful substances. These are terrible circumstances under which to take your first breath.”
Babies born with NAS, which is caused by drugs passing from the mother to her unborn child during pregnancy, can suffer from a range of symptoms, including uncontrollable trembling, hyperactivity and high-pitched crying.
The number of infants recorded as being affected by this fluctuated from 2013 in 2015-16 to 190 in 2016-17 and 191 in 2017-18.
The problem was worst in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with 178 infants born addicted to drugs over the three years.
Meanwhile, there were 120 such births in the Grampian region over this period, and 63 in NHS Lothian between 2015 and 2017 – having only provided data for that period.
NHS Tayside gave figures for births in the calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017, with the number of infants born addicted totalling 61 over this period.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said the problem of having babies born already hooked on drugs could “be avoided with the right combination of policies and support to help those misusing drugs”.