Cases of babies born addicted to drugs are unfortunately not decreasing in West Virginia, reports latest data released from the West Virginia Dept. of Health and Human Resources. The statewide rate for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) was 50.6 for every 1,000 live births last year, according to DHHR.
WV has the nation’s highest rate of babies born dependent
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that West Virginia has the highest rate of dependent-born babies: 33.4 for every 1,000 births in 2013 compared to the national average which is 5.8. Lincoln and Marshall counties are included in a cluster with some of the highest rates in Southern West Virginia and the Northern Panhandle.
Dr. Rhaul Gupta stated that this could indicate a higher patter of prescription drug use.
The rate of newborn forced to endure the horrible torment of drug withdrawal exceeded 60 for every 1,000 live births in 15 of the 28 reporting counties.
“If there were like two kids born with NAS in a particular county, revealing two would almost let the communities figure out which two they were,” Gupta said.
West Virginia also has the nation’s highest death rate from drug overdose
DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch reported that the state’s addiction epidemic created a child welfare crisis. There’s been reported a 46% increase in the number of children removed from custody and 84% of all Child Protective Services case involve some kind of drug use.
“Children across our state have suffered more than anyone because of the drug epidemic, and these NAS numbers quantify this tragedy,” Crouch stated.
West Virginia has recently become the first state to receive federal approval to begin offering Medicaid coverage for treating drug-dependent babies.
The number associations that provide medical care to infants is increasing and they provide help to those suffering from prenatal drug exposure and offer support and education services to families of substance-abused babies.