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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

BE WELL

More babies are born addicted to painkillers

The number of babies addicted to painkillers has increased nearly threefold compared with a decade earlier. Researchers at the University of Michigan reviewed nationwide hospital billing data from 2000 to 2009 for mothers using prescription painkillers at the time of delivery. They also looked at whether the newborns showed withdrawal symptoms to the drugs, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Women were five times more likely to take painkillers during pregnancy compared with a decade ago, which led to a growing number of babies with the syndrome — 1.2 per 1,000 hospital births in 2000 compared with 3.4 in 2009.

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