Births of drug-addicted babies are on the rise

BOSTON (AP) — Federal research shows that the number of babies born in Massachusetts with heroin and other opioids in their system is much higher than the national average.

The Boston Globe reports that more than 1,300 Massachusetts babies, or about 17.5 per 1,000 hospital births, were born with narcotics in their system in 2013 — more than triple the national rate of five babies out of every 1,000 births.

The federal numbers are also higher than the state’s count of 128 babies born with drug dependence in 2013.

The state’s figures are based on cases reported to the Department of Children and Families, while the federal figures are based on reports by 42 Massachusetts hospitals.

Babies born addicted typically experience painful symptoms that include difficulty feeding and breathing, diarrhea, vomiting and seizures.

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