Every 25 minutes, a baby is born addicted to opiates, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
The withdrawals these babies have are heartbreaking, and their condition has a name: neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). The cause of NAS is a mother who abuses drugs while pregnant, passing that addiction down to her child.
Side effects of NAS include tremors, seizures, vomiting, hyperactive reflexes, high-pitched crying and more.
Here are five babies whose lives were forever changed by drugs, before they were even born:
Za’lani's mom, Raeven, had been addicted to drugs for years. According to Fox 29 News, when Raeven was 5 months pregnant, she overdosed.
Though Za'lani wasn't born addicted to heroin, since Raeven had been on life support at the time of her birth, she was born addicted to the Phenobarbital and the Benzodiazepine used to control her mother's seizures.
When Jordynn was born dead, doctors had to revive her. A Kentucky-based heroin support group shared Jordynn's story on YouTube, explaining she was born 9 weeks early and addicted to heroin. She spent her first 46 days in the NCIU.
Today, she still suffers from brain damage as a result.
Clorissa Jones was high on heroin when she gave birth to her first child and was determined that wouldn't be the case with her second pregnancy.
She told Reuters she was on Methadone while pregnant with baby Braxton, a drug to help her with her withdrawals. But Braxton was born with a drug addiction to Methadone.
Braxton experiences seizures as a result of withdrawals, leaving him shaking all over.
As WBAL reports, baby Isabella was born addicted to methadone and went through horrific withdrawals.
Her mother described the baby's symptoms:
“She went through withdrawal bad. She had the shakes, just like normal withdrawal in an adult. When they tried to take her down on her medicine, she was just screaming uncontrollably.”
Her parents had both been hooked on drugs for years, but have since sought treatment to get clean and provide the “best life” they can for their baby girl.
Like many other cases, Jacey's mother, Jennifer Frazier, was on methadone during her pregnancy to combat her prescription painkiller addiction.
Jacey had uncontrollable shaking when she was born, a sign she was suffering from the withdrawal of methadone.
According to NBC News, she mistakenly gave Jacey a “lethal does” victim of a lethal dose of methadone to Jacey when she was six months old, resulting in her untimely death.
Here's what a baby typically goes through when they're born addicted to drugs:
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Sept. 26 found that rates of NAS have doubled since 2009.
Lead study author Dr. Joshua Brown, a pharmacy researcher at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, told Fox News a reason behind some of the surge in NAS among babies is due to strict prescription drug policies:
“The drug policies of the early 2000's were effective in reducing supply — we have seen a decrease in methamphetamine abuse and there have been reductions in some aspects of prescription drug abuse. However, the indirect results, mainly the increase in heroin abuse, were likely not anticipated and we are just starting to see these.”
In 2014, the NIDA estimated that 1.9 million people in the U.S. were addicted to prescription pain relievers and roughly 586,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
To make matters worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 45 percent of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.
Though federal law has called on states to contact social services when babies are born with a drug addiction, a recent Reuters investigation found that many aren't complying, putting countless infants at risk.