CDC reports rise in babies born with opioid withdrawal symptoms: 3 things to know

The number of babies born with opioid withdrawal symptoms has quadrupled in the last 15 years, according to a report from the CDC.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when a fetus is exposed to prescription painkillers or heroin, causing babies to be born prematurely with symptoms like seizures, sweating and vomiting, reported US News.

For the study, researchers examined hospital data for 28 states between 1999 and 2013. Data was not available for each state every year.

Here are three things to know about the report's findings:

  1. In 1999, there were 2,419 babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome out of 1.6 million births in 14 states. In 2013, data reported 8,270 babies with the syndrome out of 1.4 million births across 21 states.

  2. Overall, the syndrome's prevalence increased from 1.5 per 1,000 hospital births to six per 1,000 hospital births in the same time period.

  3. Rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome were highest in Maine, Vermont and West Virginia, exceeding 30 per 1,000 births. Rates were lowest in South Dakota and Hawaii.

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