Birthrate of Babies Addicted to Drugs Soars on Long Island, Staten Island: Report

The birthrate of babies born with addictions to heroin, painkillers and other opiod narcotics has more than doubled in Suffolk County over the last six years, according to Newsday.

The newspaper reports that the birthrate of babies born with addiction in the Long Island County spiked by 105 percent from 2009 to 2014. One-hundred and seventy-one addicted babies were born in the county in 2014, making up 10 percent of the entire state's addicted infants for that year and up from 93 in 2009.

Suffolk wasn't alone. Neighboring Nassau County saw the birthrate of addicted babies increase by 60 percent in that same time period, while Brooklyn reported a 20-percent increase. The addicted infant birthrate increased 34 percent over that time period, while New York City's other boroughs and Westchester County all saw decreases. 

Newsday reports that increase mirrors a spike in drug use among adults on Long Island. 

Doctors, meanwhile, told the paper that they've noticed an increase in delivery rooms, as well.

“It’s been pretty dramatic,” said Dr. Carolyn Milana, medical director of Stony Brook University Hospital's nursery. “I’ve been practicing at this hospital for more than 10 years, and typically saw one [addicted infant]every couple of weeks. Now, sometimes we’ve had up to five at a time in one week.”

Infants born with addiction -- also called neonatal abstinence syndrome -- exhibit several symptoms including excessive crying, irritability, tremors, breathing problems, feeding difficulties, seizures, and sensitivity to light. It's not clear if the syndrome has long-term affects on a child's development. 

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