Mass. babies born with heroin, opioids in system triple national - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Mass. babies born with heroin, opioids in system triple national average

The number of babies born in Massachusetts with heroin and other opioids in their system is triple the national average.

This is according to federal research that says more than 1,300 Massachusetts babies were born with narcotics in their system in 2013.

Statistics show it's only growing here and across New England.

Reasons for the high rates of opiate abuse range from overprescribing to drug dealers recognizing untapped markets, to a lack of detox beds and treatment programs.

Babies born addicted typically experience painful symptoms, like difficulty feeding and breathing.

A new task force here in Massachusetts is working to improve how the state quantifies the problem.

This research is based on hospital births and a doctor at Boston Medical Center said the state's tally is dramatically smaller, instead of 1,300 babies, the state's record shows just 128 born in 2013 with drug dependence.

State numbers come from cases reported to the Department of Children and Families.

This trend is growing in Maine and Vermont, too, where the numbers have increased dramatically over the last decade.

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