Rate of drug-addicted newborns in Ohio drastically increased in 2015

COLUMBUS (AP) — New state reports indicate the rate of drug-addicted newborns in Ohio in 2015 was more than eight times higher than in 2005.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome increased to 159 per 10,000 live births in 2015, compared with 19 such hospitalizations for every 10,000 live births a decade earlier.

The condition involves withdrawal from drug addiction by newborns born to mothers who used drugs while pregnant. It can cause breathing problems, seizures, tremors and excessive crying.

The Ohio Department of Health says there were about 84 infants a day being treated for drug withdrawal in 2015. Health officials say caring for newborns suffering from the syndrome was associated with more than $133 million in health system charges that year.

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