Study: Record number of Arkansas babies born addicted to drugs

This Sunday, July 8, 2018 photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office shows a 5-month-old infant with dirt under their fingernails after authorities say the baby survived about nine hours being buried under sticks and debris in the woods. The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office says the baby is in good condition at a hospital and calls it a “miracle” that the child survived the weekend ordeal. Authorities say they were called about a man threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area of western Montana’s Lolo National Forest. Deputies apprehended the man who indicated that the baby was buried somewhere in the woods. (Missoula County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A new study by the Arkansas Department of Health says a record number of babies born in Arkansas are addicted to drugs.

Television station KTHV reports that the study found the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Arkansas increased more than tenfold between 2000 and 2014. The study attributes much of the withdrawal syndrome to opioid addiction.

Dr. Whit Hall, a neonatologist with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, says babies suffering from NAS have to stay in the hospital longer for assessment and treatment, which often means more exposure to opioids.

Hall says that a major concern for doctors is that opioid withdrawal symptoms may not surface for 5-7 days, meaning that newborns are already home and not under a doctor’s care.