5,500 British babies born addicted to drugs

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 02, 2013 11:50 hrs

London, Jan 2 (IANS) Around 5,500 children born in Britain in the past five years -- or three babies a day -- were addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs from the mother's womb, official statistics reveal.

Data from the Department of Health said that the newborns all showed "neo-natal withdrawal symptoms" within the first few hours of life, The Sun reported.

The daily said these are the same symptoms experienced by hardened addicts when they come off drugs.

The babies need specialised care to cope with severe vomiting, seizures, fever and breathing difficulties.

They became hooked to drugs in the womb because their mothers continued taking drugs during pregnancy.

The highest rate of addict baby births -- 302 a year -- was reported in the North West Strategic Health Authority area, covering Liverpool and Manchester.

Tory MP Nick de Bois, who uncovered the statistics through parliamentary questions, said: "These figures are shocking. It is difficult to comprehend that in Britain we consistently have more than 1,000 babies born every year addicted to drugs."

A total of 596 people died from heroin addiction in England and Wales in 2011.

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