It’s unclear if there are long-term health impacts for children born to opiate-addicted mothers who get through their first weeks of life okay. Some but not all studies on the question have found those kids grow up with a higher risk of developmental problems, according to Patrick.
What is clear is that babies born in opiate withdrawal significantly drive up health care costs.
According to the study, the average hospital stay for a newborn in withdrawal averages 16 days, compared to just three days for other newborns. Care costs were more than five times higher.
Previously we mentioned that the pleasure center is a portion of the brain over which we have no conscious control, and that it can be stimulated by a variety of chemicals — some of them produced inside our bodies and some that we introduce from outside. We said that the pleasure center rewards us for activities that it interprets as contributing in some way to our survival, whether they be social interactions, exercising, or more prosaic things such as eating. We also stated that these pleasurable feelings, when pursued too far or for too long can create problems. Now we need to examine how that happens….