While B.C. battles the overdose crisis, the number of Canadian babies born with symptoms of addiction and withdrawal is on the rise.
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there were almost 300 more babies born with ‘Neo-natal Abstinence Syndrome’ across the country in the 2015-2016 fiscal year than there were in the 2012-2013 fiscal year (excluding Quebec, which did not have numbers available).
Pediatrician and Senior scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Astrid Guttmann, spoke to CKNW Weekend host Tim Dickert, saying one reason why those numbers are up is because some mothers are taking those drugs during their pregnancy.
“We’ve been in Ontario, tracking the numbers of babies that are born in withdrawal from opioids for a few years now, and the numbers have been increasing quite dramatically… so about a five-fold increase in the last 10 years.”
Guttman says now that they’re more aware of the symptoms of babies addicted to opioids, they know how to treat them while they experience withdrawal.
“By giving them a low dose of an, opioid and then just slowly weaning them off of it, there’s a score that we give to babies based on how jittery they are.”
She says there’s not enough data to show the long term physical effects for babies born with opioid withdrawls.