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3 facts you should know about Oklahoma babies born with drugs or alcohol in their system

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As difficult as it might be to believe and understand, 375 babies born last year in Oklahoma had drugs or alcohol in their system. That’s a 16.5 percent increase over the previous year.

A recent story by The Oklahoman’s Jennifer Palmer details the increase, and what the addicted babies experience after being born.

For those who missed the story, or those who want the quick facts, here are 3 things you should know about Oklahoma babies born addicted to drugs.


No. 3 – DHS, abuse and the numbers

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports 375 Oklahoma newborns tested positive for drugs or alcohol in 2014. In 2013, that number was 322.

DHS verified abuse or neglect in 187 of the cases. In 68 cases, DHS recommended removing the child from the home due to drug use. In 96 cases, newborns tested positive for prescription drugs.

Addicted Oklahoma: Read our ongoing coverage about the prescription drug problem in Oklahoma


No. 2 – Hospitals matter

Drug abuse in Oklahoma is a growing problem, especially with prescription drugs. DHS depends on hospitals to report instances in which newborns test positive for drugs or alcohol and, while urban hospitals do their part, rural hospitals can do better.

In 2014, 375 Oklahoma newborns tested positive for drugs or alcohol; 96 of them tested positive for prescription drugs.   Tweet this

No. 1 – What newborns experience

DHS states babies born addicted to drugs or alcohol can suffer a myriad of complications, such as withdrawal, which often lead to long-lasting health issues. The newborns can suffer seizures, excessive crying, fever, sweating and vomiting.

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Richard Hall

Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Read more ›

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