IRISH DAILY MIRROR SHOCK REPORT: IRELAND'S HEROIN BABIES; Hospitals see huge rise in addicted tots.Byline: CAOIMHE YOUNG
DOCTORS in Irish hospitals treat up to FOUR heroin-addicted babies every week, the Irish Mirror can reveal.
The newborns arrive in the world already screaming for a fix, their little bodies tortured with agonising withdrawal symptoms.
Their addict mothers have turned them into unwilling junkies, dependent on illegal narcotics or morphine.
In Dublin the number of babies being born this way has almost doubled since 2000.
Last year 215 "junkie junkie Popular health A popular term for a person, usually an IV narcotic abusing addict, whose life is disorganized vis-á-vis family and societal structure, whose existence revolves around obtaining–often through theft, prostitution or other illicit babies" were born in Dublin hospitals - 101 were delivered in the Coombe A coombe is a short, deep, generally bowl-shaped valley or hollow, see cirque.
Coombe may refer to one of these places in England:
In Classical and Neoclassical architecture, a building or room that is circular in plan and covered with a dome. The Pantheon is a Classical Roman rotunda. The Villa Rotonda at Vicenza, designed by Andrea Palladio, is an Italian Renaissance example. and 30 in Holles Street.
In 2000, 120 addicted babies were born in the three main maternity hospitals.
Grainne Kenny of Europe Against Drugs said the rise is alarming and reflects Dublin's drug problem.
She added: "I feel terribly sorry for the poor babies and the staff who have to helplessly watch such a tiny child suffers.
"The recent Government figures say there are 1,000 fewer heroin users in the capital.
"Maybe young people are no longer using as much heroin but from working on the ground I know the drug problem is not getting better.
Dr Brian Sweeney Brian Edward Sweeney (born 13th June 1974 in Yonkers, New York) is a baseball pitcher for the Japanese Nippon Ham Fighters franchise.
After making his debut with the Mariners in 2003, Sweeney moved to San Diego in 2004 and then signed with Japan's Hokkaido Nippon Ham of Trinity Court Drug Treatment Centre said he was surprised with the increase, but thought it was because mums-to-be more readily admit to the problem now.
He explained that addicted mothers used to be terrified ter·ri·fy
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.
2. To menace or threaten; intimidate. to admit they were drug users in case their baby was taken from them.
He said "That was a big problem in the 1970s and 1980s but there is more information now. Overall the system we have now is a huge success and mothers know they will be treated extremely well.
"You can't take a child from a mother just because she's an addict, there has to be proof of neglect. In truth, the baby usually ends up being cared for by the granny."
For the medical staff who have to see the newborns through their first painful weeks, it is harrowing work.
They can tell the babies who suffer from what is medically called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome straight away. Their eyes are wide open and agony is etched across their faces.
In a state of hyper arousal, their tiny bodies shake, their legs frantically rubbing together until they are red raw.
Then there are the screams - not the harmless, reassuring cries of newborns, but the piercing wails of pain that only sedation Sedation Definition
Sedation is the act of calming by administration of a sedative. A sedative is a medication that commonly induces the nervous system to calm.
The process of sedation has two primary intentions. can quieten.
They eat what they can, sleep when they can and they scream for heroin.
Dr Elizabeth Griffen of the Coombe Hospital said: "We feed them on demand. We try and overcome their comfort by swaddling them in and keeping them in quiet darkened rooms.
"The time they spend here varies. If they were coming off one pure drug the period might be shorter." Some babies may need medical help from morphine and a similar drug phenobarbitone phe·no·bar·bi·tone
a hypnotic, anticonvulsant and sedative. to control withdrawal and side effects Side effects
Effects of a proposed project on other parts of the firm. .
Dr Sweeney said: "The child is normally stable within five days if its mother is not abusing another substance besides heroin or morphine.
"However, if the mother is also taking other drugs likes Valium or Rohyphnol it can take two to three weeks."
The most prominent drug found among addicted women is morphine.
Dr Sweeney said mothers addicted to drugs when they give birth often carry the guilt for the rest of their lives.
He said: "A baby can have severe problems if a mother goes on and off drugs while pregnant.
"If the source of the drug is removed it can be very difficult on the baby in the womb."
Once a child is weaned off heroin or morphine they can lead a normal life.
Dr Sweeney said: "During the first year there are usually a few minor development problems but after that the child catches up."
However, there is evidence many of the children can become addicts in later life.
Dr Sweeney added: "The child is predisposed to addiction but this is true of children whose parent's smoke or drink too much."
Ms Kenny said pregnant mothers who abuse cannabis also pass on the addiction to their baby.
"She added: "The public are not aware of the effects cannabis addiction has on the foetus. There are severe withdrawal symptoms but there is no drug to ease to pain.
"These babies are given a heartbreaking start to life. The only way to prevent it is a radical and effective policy to tackle Ireland's drug problem."
COOMBE 101 CASES; ROTUNDA 84 CASES