Each day in 2009, the last year with statistics for this (see this), some thirty five (35) or so infants were born addicted to an opiate. That's 13,000 addicted infants a year that we know about (many more are probably born to mothers who simply take the children home without the hospital ever noticing a problem).
There is no check for this condition and these infants are detected only if the present problematic symptoms to the hospital staff.
It seems to me very likely that these children will not have a good chance later in life because there will be a propensity to use these drugs again (many child Parigoric and codeine "victims" today report that opiate pain killers such as Vicodin and OxyContin offer similar effects as those these medications gave them in their childhood).
If you read about the effects of these drugs on infants as well as the effects of the drugs they use to wean them off of the pain killers (methadone, clonidine, and phenobarbital) you'd really have to wonder about our society and our medical system.
After all many of these mothers no doubt take part in "free needle" programs.
Opiate pain killers for children were available without prescription and over the counte at pharmacies through the end of the 1960's.
However, most were not used for infants.
But today pregnant mom's use of "little helpers" like Vicodin and OxyContin virtually assure that the infant will be thoroughly addicted at birth.
From figures in the article linked above probably three quarters of all children born on these drugs are born into poverty and Medicaid (you and I) pay what I estimate to be at least a billion dollars a year for their care.
Note that the number of these children increased at a rate of about three-fold from 2000 to 2009.
You might ask what's being done about this.
Unfortunately you'd discover that the answer is basically "absolutely nothing" - save for actually treating the infant if its discovered to have a problem.
If you drove drunk to the hospital to have the child the police might be involved.
Not so in these cases.
I have to wonder why...?
Yet the drum for "gun reform," as an example, beats on after Sandy Hook.
Aren't these drugs have a similar effect on our children? Sure, the children don't die immediately, but for the rest of their lives they will suffer the consequences of the actions of their adult parents.
Today's drug model is the result of the 1960's "if it feels good do it" model of
The concept of "consequences" was lost on that generation. "If it feels good do it" really doesn't get into what your actions might do for someone else, i.e., leave them a mess to clean up while you're feeling good.
There also is no responsibility model.
Today medical practitioners dole out opiate pills like candy - no checking if they are required and using them so that you don't "feel pain."
Yet for many things, particularly surgery or injuries, pain is actually a good thing.
It tells your body about what's wrong and helps to prevent you from making things worse. (I guess that's why the medical establishment want's to eliminate it.)
Humans are very poor at relating results over a long period of time.
When the US Congress was created in the 1770's a two year term for a representative meant that spent about 5% of your 36 year long life serving your country.
I argue this is a significant portion of someone's life at that time.
Today its perhaps half of that at 2.5% of your life.
Consider that kids today spend 32 hours (see this post) a week in front of a TV. As adults that 19% of their life.
And let's not consider smartphones, twitter and Facebook.
So those making decisions for our well being probably spend more time in front of the TV than they do working on the future of our country.
And that's just TV time.
In the 1770's there was, I think, a lot more focus the "big picture" of what was right and wrong, of what was responsible and irresponsible.
Today this is lost.
And these children are a symptom of that.