Stories

The youngest victims of the opioid epidemic

Every 15 minutes, a baby is born dependent on opioids. In Baltimore, doctors at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital say babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — a set of conditions caused by withdrawal from exposure to drugs — now account for 25% of the hospital’s admissions.

Why it matters: Nationally, the number of babies born with the syndrome has increased by over 400 percent since 2004. For Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, the community must first recognize addiction as a disease to address the larger trend of the opioid epidemic. But as drug-related deaths continue to increase, the future remains uncertain.

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to show that babies are born with opioid dependence, not addiction.