Number of newborns addicted to pain killers spikes

By NBC News

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM CDT

The number of babies born addicted to pain killers has been spiking since 2005.

A task force on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome recently met at Florida's Cape Coral Hospital to put potential solutions into action.

Expect to see an awareness campaign showing up in doctors' offices, clinics, and classrooms in the form of brochures and videos.

It's a message for all women of child-bearing age: from 14 on up. The awareness campaign will focus on the unintended consequences of pain killers.

"Those are babies born addicted to the mom's pain medication," said Michelle Waddell who is the system director of nursing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Lee Memorial. "They suffer, they suffer through their withdrawal."

Nurses in the NICU control withdrawal by using another pain killer. Lee Memorial's first line of treatment is morphine.

Medical experts say the real solution lies long before birth.

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