A recent University of Michigan study shows that one baby is born addicted to prescription and non–prescription drugs every hour in the United States.
It is a problem that has found its way into the Upper Peninsula, where last year alone, 67 infants were born with withdrawal symptoms.
The Superior Health Foundation in Marquette has taken notice and set aside the funds raised at its 2012 gala to promote awareness throughout the region.
“This is a huge problem, not only nationwide, but really in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” Superior Health Foundation Executive Director Jim LaJoie said. “We’ve seen more than 300% increase in the amount of babies that come into the NICU that have these types of issues inside of them, and that’s just incredibly sad.”
“We feel that if we can get to the young adults and we can get to the teenagers and talk to them in a way that they’ll understand about the dangers of mixing drugs and having a baby, maybe it will make them think twice.”
The campaign will stress the importance of maintaining prenatal appointments with physicians so that mothers-to-be can learn about treatment options and give their baby the best chance going forward.
“We’re going to get out to kids by Facebook messages, we’re going to be putting together a video that we hope to get in classrooms across the Upper Peninsula…really that preventative that these are the dangers and stay away from it because this is what could happen when you have a child,” LaJoie said. “Certainly there are people who using now, and maybe that will be a signal to them that it’s not to late, that they can make some changes–some positive changes in their life because really, it’s not fair to the little ones.”
“When you have a chance to go to a nursery and see the struggles that these little babies go through, and the types of issues that they have, it’s really, really sad.”
ABC 10 will continue to look at the growing trend through eyes of local law enforcement, social workers, and medical professionals throughout the week.