State Releases First Statistics On Babies Born Drug-Dependent In RI

May 5, 2014

The state’s health department says the number of babies born in Rhode Island to mothers dependent on opiates has nearly doubled in the past few years.

In 2012, it was 90 babies, more than double the number in 2005. So far, in the first quarter of this year, it’s 26 newborns.

This is the first time health department researchers have compiled statistics on babies diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a collection of symptoms that afflict babies in withdrawal from the drugs they were exposed to in the womb. 

The health department analyzed data from all of the state’s birthing hospitals. They found the rate of babies born with the syndrome has been climbing in tandem with rising rates of opiate addiction and overdose.

Keep following the story: Be sure to catch the first of our two-part series on babies born to dependent mothers in Rhode Island, beginning tomorrow (Tuesday, May 6th) on Morning Edition.

Also, see our earlier coverage of the number of opioid-dependent newborns born at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, where rates of neonatal abstinence have nearly tripled.