Tiny Painkiller Junkies?

USA Today reports that "the number of babies born addicted to the class of drugs that includes prescription painkillers has nearly tripled in the past decade." Yeah, because three times zero is still zero. Since addiction is a pattern of behavior that involves a psychological attachment and (in the case of a regrettable addiction) continued use despite negative consequences, "babies cannot be 'addicted,'" by definition, as a group of 100 physicians, researchers, and addiction specialists observed in an open letter about "meth babies" back in 2005. What USA Today should have said is what the study it cites found: The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), marked by withdrawal symptoms, increased from 1.2 per 1,000 hospital births in 2000 to 3.4 in 2009. During the same period, the incidence of babies born to mothers who used opiates during pregnancy increased from 1.2 to 5.6 per 1,000 births.

A CDC researcher tells USA Today "the prevalence of drug use among pregnant women hasn't changed since the early 2000s, but the types of drugs that women are using" has changed, with opioid painkillers increasingly popular. Since NAS is associated with low birthweight and respiratory complications, the trend is cause for concern, but the 200 percent increase highlighted by USA Today obscures the fact that the overall rate remains very low (about one-third of 1 percent). And contrary to the newspaper's implication, so-called physical dependence is neither necessary nor sufficient for addiction. These babies are not miniature junkies destined to seek out the nearest heroin dealer as soon as they can toddle. Just as doctors avoid abrupt withdrawal in babies (or other patients) treated with narcotic painkillers by gradually reducing the dose, NAS symptoms can be relieved with methadone, which is slowly tapered off.

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  • ||

    What is with the steady drumbeat against painkillers in the media? I get the government cracking down because they're repulsive control freaks and cannot stand the idea of anyone doing anything without government permission, but I guess the media, being government fellators, are just backing them up?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yes. Also, they believe their own bs.

  • SugarFree||

    Sadists are not interested in their victims getting any relief.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We must do penance for our sins.

  • o3||

    u mean the statist doctors who over-perscribe in return for kickbacks fm the pharmaceuticals? >just the freeze-market at work...nothing to see here

  • ||

    Thanks for your input, Mary.

  • SugarFree||

    Only an epic dumbshit would think that painkillers are over-prescribed in America. I know every barrel has to have a bottom, but do we really need so many?

  • ||

    What was that about a barrel and your bottom? I got...distracted.

  • ||

    That's just what I said, dude: Mary. Your powers as The Summarizer failed you on that one.

  • o3||

    my freeze-market cell phone jammer has reduced you to white noise.

  • ||

    Racist!

  • ||

    I knew I could count on you to word it in a way that was escaping me, NutraSweet.

  • SugarFree||

    By night I prowl the city as... The Summarizer!

  • ||

    You give him text, you get condensed!

  • ||

    By day, a humble editor at Reader's Digest!

  • ||

    You must really hate children to ask those questions.

  • Zeb||

    Sadly, even though it seems like most people are coming around on cannabis, most people still see other "bad" drugs as in a completely different category that needs to be heavily regulated and restricted because they somehow magically make people do bad things and take away their soul or something. I like Sullum's term "voodoo pharmacology" (I think he came up with that).

    Every time I hear someone say "drugs ruined my life" or something to that effect I want to reply "no, you ruined your life, drugs were just the tool you used".

  • sarcasmic||

    Freedom from responsibility.

    There's always someone to sue, someone/something to blame.

    Blame the drugs. Blame the dealer. Blame the doctor.

    Never, I repeat never take personal responsibility for your actions.

    This is America!

  • Zeb||

    Oh, right. I forgot.

  • RUExperienced||

    You mention cannabis, which is a very effective pain reliever for most people, but isn't physically addictive. Opiates are not only psychologically addictive, they are very physically addictive and obviously dangerous (they depress respiration). How many people would need to be prescribed opiates if cannabis were legal?

    On top of that, there is some interesting research on sub hallucinogenic does of LSD giving pain relief to cancer patients for up to a week from a single dose.

    But as usual, those safer alternatives are not patentable so no interest by Pharma or the FDA

  • SIV||

    How many people would need to be prescribed opiates if cannabis were legal?

    None, if opiates were legal too. They could just pick them up otc down at the Walgreens.

  • RUExperienced||

    I'm for making all drugs legal across the board and letting people make their own decisions. The point I was trying to make though is that opiate drugs really are dangerous. It's not all that hard to OD and die from their use. AFAIK, no one has ever died from a cannabis OD.

  • Raston Bot||

    This time it's not even good stenography. Just garbage.

  • AlmightyJB||

    If these women could feel free to discuss this with their doctor without fear of prison and losing their child, maybe they could get some help knocking the habit at least until after the baby is born.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm guessing the government "solution" will be the exact opposite of this.

  • nicole||

    Much easier to just test women without their consent when they give birth in a hospital and take the baby away when they find "evidence" of drug use.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm guessing the government "solution" will be the exact opposite of this.

    Perhaps that vaccine that Madler claims will never be forced on the unwilling.

  • o3||

    so almighty is an, whatd u say, an epic dumbshit as well right? or maybe u think the word "habit" refers to nuns? jeesch

  • ||

    You're getting more obvious, Miss Mary.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm not really sure how are comments are comparible Orrin?

  • ||

    C'mon y'all, dont feed it.

  • o3||

    "...maybe they could get some help knocking the habit..."
    _

    habit = addiction to doctor perscribed painkillers, which SF described as "epic dumbshit" (above) and epi parroted.

  • Zeb||

    I know I shouldn't bother, but here goes...

    The fact that some people get addicted to painkillers prescribed by doctors in no way supports the premise that painkillers are over-prescribed in the US. Is that really so difficult to comprehend? In any case, it would be preferable for everyone in the country to be addicted to opiates than for one person not to get adequate treatment for pain or to go to prison for it.

  • o3||

    addiction = over-perscribed

    ur ideologically forced denial is a cover for pharmaceuticals, nothing moar.

  • ||

    o3 is Mary Stack, dude. It should be obvious to even the stupidest by now.

  • pmains||

  • AlmightyJB||

    I went to the doctor a couple years ago for something for my very bad backpain. You would have thought I asked him for the deed to his house and keys to his mercedes. Painkillers are under-prescribed, not over prescribed as you suggested. But that doesn't mean that there are not pill mills out there supplying people with oxy or that there are not some people who are addicts. Btw..he gave some prescription Aleve, which I could have just doubled the dose myself and saved a trip and no it didn't do squat for my pain.

  • Tonio||

    Sullum, how dare you let mere, vulgar facts interfere with the narrative. It's for the children, after all. No sacrifice is too great.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm seeing a market opportunity here for tiny handcuffs.

  • ||

    And child prisons! Oh wait, we already have those. They're called public schools.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Episiarch,

    They're called public schools.


    Oh, snap!

  • robc||

    No alt text? That picture was screaming for on.

    And I think Hugh nailed it.

  • Brandon||

    OT: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....st-meeting

    SIV, tell us again how Romney is so much better than Obama?

  • SIV||

    Have I said that he is?
    No dumbfuck

  • SIV||

    And...from your link...

    The mayor was also a guest at a White House luncheon with President Obama just weeks ago.

  • Zeb||

    "The number of politicians who can [literally, I know they already could figuratively] stick their heads fully up their asses has increased 100-fold in the past year"

    There is a lot of humorous potential to this construction. Thanks USAToday.

  • sarcasmic||

    Slightly off topic: Bar Refaeli frolicking topless on the beach!

    (safe for work, unfortunately)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....ttoms.html

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    I love how that one ad mentions her "playing tennis" in her underwear. She is doing nothing of the sort, she's running around on a tennis court in her underwear while occasionally swinging a racket and hitting a ball someone threw at her.

  • sarcasmic||

    she's running around on a tennis court in her underwear

    I'm fine with that. Really. It doesn't bother me one bit.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, she could've been swatting flies for all I care.

  • ||

    She also clearly has no idea how to play tennis--I mean, not at all--but I'm not complaining.

  • robc||

    'I got a security "patdown" by a woman at the airport that made me feel very uncomfortable and left no doubt about her sexual preferences,'

  • ||

    Hawt

  • Old Mexican||

    Since addiction is a pattern of behavior that involves a psychological attachment and (in the case of a regrettable addiction) continued use despite negative consequences, "babies cannot be 'addicted,'" by definition, as a group of 100 physicians, researchers, and addiction specialists observed in an open letter about "meth babies" back in 2005.


    Jacob, you're being a hard-ass. Why, asking these journalists to have a grasp on not only logic but of basic concepts - really, Jacob?

  • chat sohbet||

    I really love coming here to have a very good blog.sohbet

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