The crack epidemic of the late eighties and early nineties prompted the need for many chilling, unforgettable documentaries on newborns addicted to crack cocaine also know as “crack babies” as a means to draw attention to the epidemic’s smallest, most vulnerable victims.
Now, Duval County, FL ranks second in the state for the number of babies born addicted to opioids. Projected cuts to Medicaid under the current administration would indeed negatively impact the treatment of addicted mothers and their babies.
Well over fifty percent of Florida’s children are enrolled in Medicaid. When neonatal addiction issues are a part of the equation, this number reaches in excess of eighty to ninety percent.
Symptoms of addiction in babies include uncontrollable crying, difficulty breathing, seizures, failure to thrive, vomiting, and excessive diarrhea which can lead to skin breakdown.
Most babies born addicted to opioids are the result of unintended pregnancies. Many of these babies remain hospitalized anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months at a time.
Access to contraception as a means of cutting down on the number of babies born with drug addictions would certainly help. Projected efforts to make birth control less accessible and costly obviously will not. Quality of life is equally as important as life itself. A woman in the throws of addiction doesn’t have the ability to focus on responsible family planning and whether or not she can afford to properly care for a new baby.
Babies born to mothers struggling with opioid addiction are at higher risk for abuse, mental/behavioral health problems and even death well before adulthood.
Florida Medicaid needs to be strengthened and expanded, period.
We’re in the midst of an opioid epidemic here in Florida, it’s way past time for every elected official in the state to act like it, especially those who tout their pro-life values. No child asks to be born, much less born addicted.