by Brad Lamm, CIP
The news is in on pregnant moms and addictive pain killers. It ain’t good.
According to data revealed in a recent New York Times article, more than 1 in 5 pregnant mothers are being prescribed opioid painkillers by doctors. The primary symptom breeding opiate use for pregnant women is not a new one – it’s back pain. The same pain women with children have had since the beginning of time, yet only now are opiates making their way into mother and child in record numbers.
With skyrocketing awareness on the disease of addiction, more young people than ever are being exposed to recovery yet here’s the million dollar question: ARE WE CREATING A NEW GENERATION EVEN MORE PRONE TO ADDICTION?
Is it as simple as you’d think? Are we addicting right in the womb?
Opioids are highly addictive narcotics found in many of the pills prescribed in the US, and is the main ingredient in heroin. Nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from drug overdose – the majority of which comes back to the opiates in the pills making it into pregnant women’s bodies (and babies). Yet across the nation, doctors prescribing pregnant mothers-to-be opiates by the bellyful likely won’t even grab much attention. Why is that?
It’s because doctors are prescribing them, and the medical school system, which spends so little about addictive disorders and behavioral health have given us what we’ve got. So many doctors don’t even know what they don’t know. “100 percent of alcoholics and addicts will at some time in their life interact with the medical system. Unfortunately, many physicians are not adequately trained in the diagnosis and treatment of addictive disease, despite its enormous public health consequences,” says past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Muir Wood adolescent treatment center leadership Dr. David Smith.
The state with the highest % of doctor’s prescribing opioids to pregnant moms is Utah at 41.6 %. Which state has the least? None other than my home state Oregon with 9.5%. Although the cause of the variable is unclear, the significance in such a discrepancy would seem that there is no set standard for how docs go about prescribing pain meds to pregnant women.
So many doctors are simply winging it, from state to state; from sea to shining sea.
Being someone who has suffered first hand from the treacherous turmoils of life-twisting addiction, I know how pain and suffering comes with the territory. Yet come on! If we can avoid giving little ones a taste of opiates in the womb, why wouldn’t we?
According to Cheryl Broussard, a health scientist who works at the National Center of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, “Fewer than 10% of medications approved by the F.D.A. since 1980 have sufficient data to determine fetal risk.” This goes for opiates in the womb too. There’s no hard data that it’s bad, but common sense tells us it’s in the same category of conventional wisdom: HOUSE IS ON FIRE? GET OUT!
As things stand now, doctors across the nation are using precious moms-to-be as lab rats. Our nation’s doctors must put away their prescription pads as the first response in treating those with ordinary pregnancy pain.
Why not breed information?
Breed understanding on the nature of addiction in medical schools?
Medications designed for short-term use should not be used chronically, so the return to non-narcotic pain medications for pregnant mothers is the battle cry. Expectant mothers deserve pain relief to be sure, and the beautiful creation inside them deserves a chance at a long and happy addiction-free life. This way everybody wins.
Brad Lamm, CIP
Brad is the founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers.