SuperTalk Mississippi

Opioid abuse growing among rural pregnant women

JACKSON, Miss. – An increase in opioid use among rural women is leading to more U.S. infants being born with symptoms of withdrawal. 

A University of Michigan study estimates that 21 percent of newborns in rural counties had withdrawal symptoms in 2013. In 2004, it was 13 percent.

Rural areas climbed six-fold from about one per 1,000 births in 2004 to almost eight per 1,000 births in 2013. Compare that to urban areas where the rate went from one per 1,000 to five per 1,000 births.

The research was done by analyzing a data-set of U.S. hospital discharges compiled by the government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Babies whose mothers use drugs during pregnancy are at risk of seizures, problems with breathing, sleeping and feeding, along with excessive crying.

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