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30 JUNKIE BABIES IN ONE TOWN; CHARITY REVEAL SHOCK TOLL Special unit set up to help addict mums cope and ease newborns through withdrawal symptoms.

Byline: By NORMAN SILVESTER

THIRTY babies in a Scots town have been born addicted to a deadly combination of crack cocaine and heroin in the last two years.

The crisis in Fraserburgh - population 20,000 - is so bad that charity Children 1st have set up a special unit to help drug addict mothers cope.

The babies have to be treated from the day they are born to stop them going through withdrawal symptoms.

At Edinburgh's Heriot Watt University last month, a conference of carers from across Britain heard that exposure to crack is making women in Fraserburgh more sexually charged and more likely to take risks.

All drug addict mums and their babies in the Aberdeenshire town are treated at the practice of GP Dr Sandy Wisley.

He said: "The babies are born addicted to the same drugs - heroin, methadone and crack cocaine - which their mothers have taken during pregnancy.

"The babies can spend several months in hospital being weaned off the drugs.

"In the last two years, I have had upwards of 30 mothers referred tome who are drug addicts and whose babies are also born as drug addicts."

Dr Wisley said the babies were put on a diamorphine drip from birth to wean them off crack cocaine and heroin.

He added: "It is a very difficult time for the baby and medical staff both physically and emotionally.

"I have a nurse whose sole responsibility is to deal with addict mothers and their addict babies.

"The mothers are not getting pregnant deliberately. Their chaotic lifestyles are putting them in situations like prostitution where it is easier to fall pregnant.

"The only good news is that most of the mothers are over the age of 20, which suggests younger people are starting to get the right message."

The town has an estimated 600 drug addicts, mostly aged 20 to 35.

Children 1st spokesman Tom Roberts said: "Parents with addictions can often struggle to look after their children, which is why our Fraserburgh Families service works with families who need extra support."

More than 300 babies are born addicted to crack cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs every year in Scotland.

Last year, Greater Glasgow recorded the largest number of new-born addicts - 70 - with 58 in Grampian, 40 in Argyll and Clyde and Edinburgh and 39 in Tayside.

As well as withdrawal problems, babies born to addict mums can suffer breathing problems and convulsions and are more prone to sudden infant death syndrome.

They can also suffer serious problems in later life.

Babies exposed to cocaine in the uterus are more likely to suffer birth defects and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness.

Heroin and crack use can lead to premature delivery, low birth weight and stillbirth.

As many as 60,000 Scots children currently live with addict parents.

The Executive unveiled plans for tough protection rules in May after high-profile cases shocked the country. More children of addicts will go into care.

mailfile How we exposed the year of the child addicts

On January 29, we told how a Glasgow addict's 11-year-old daughter collapsed in school after taking heroin.

On February 5, we revealed the same child - whose brother was born an addict - was reported for drug possession, aged nine.

On March 5, we revealed Derek Doran, two, died after drinking his addict parents' methadone in Elphinstone, East Lothian.

On July 23, we showed shocking pictures of a 12-year-old dealing crack cocaine in the south side of Glasgow.

SUNDAY EMAIL

n.silvester@sundaymail.co.uk

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 3, 2006
Words:599
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