London, Aug 17 (ANI): There has been a drastic increase in the number of babies born with drug and alcohol addiction problems in Scotland.
According to the Scottish Sun, one in every 264 newborns in Scotland now suffer withdrawal symptoms as a result of junkie mums abusing deadly substances from heroin to cannabis.
One in every 98 pregnant mums have admitted that they put their unborn child's life at risk by taking drugs during pregnancy, new figures unearthed by us show.
Scots Labour leader Iain Gray called for junkies who shoot up in front of their kids to have their children taken off them.
"If a child is fending for themselves to survive, and people around them are having sex and taking drugs in front of them, I think that is not an acceptable way for the child to be living," the Sun quoted Gray as saying.
"At the heart of the existing system is a presumption that it is better for the children to be with their mother and their birth family. That is wrong," he added.
There is 20 per cent risk of babies dying from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
Although a majority recovered naturally without medication, others are forced to through a painful withdrawal that can last four months.
A child suffering from NAS can experience tremors, high-pitched crying, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, sweating, seizures, delayed visual development and wobbly eyes.
Nationally 65 per cent of drug-using mums-to-be are taking heroin and methadone, while 29 per cent use cannabis and 11 per cent knock back sedatives such as Diazepam and Temazepam. Most of the babies we treat have been exposed to heroin or methadone and need oral morphine to treat them," said Dr Helen Mactier, a consultant neonatologist who studied drug-dependent pregnant women at The Princess Royal Maternity in Glasgow.
"It can take anything from 24 hours to a few days for a baby to detox from heroin and months for babies to detox from methadone," she added.
Gray's call for reform was also backed by kids' charity Barnardo's Scotland.
Director Martin Crewe said: "If all support measures have failed, we have to consider the option of removing the child." (ANI)