The opioid crisis reaches far beyond the estimated 2 million people who are addicted and 130 who die from overdose each day in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born addicted to opioids every 15 minutes, and that is based on data from 2014.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), withdrawal from opioids after birth, is a painful and dangerous condition for newborns. NAS is not the only possible consequence of opioid use during pregnancy. Miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and birth defects can also occur. Drug makers can be held liable for the harm they have caused to pregnant mothers and their babies.
Defective product lawyers and law firms are available to help you hold drug makers accountable for the harm to your child.
Understanding Maternal Opioid Use
While many people simply blame the mother and turn away, opioid addiction during pregnancy is a complicated and dangerous situation that typically starts with the mother being prescribed an opioid drug, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or tramadol, and taking the medication according to doctor’s orders. Once addiction has taken hold, discontinuing opioids can be dangerous or fatal, for anyone. Stopping during pregnancy can be even more dangerous.
Opioid drugs are prescribed for short-term pain relief after surgery or an injury, and for cancer patients. But they are also routinely prescribed to treat pain that could and should be treated with other medications. Spurred on and misled by the pharmaceutical companies for years, doctors prescribed opioids for back pain, headaches and more. When doctors stoped prescribing the drugs to their addicted patients, the patients often turned to the black market for more pills or alternative such as heroin.
Holding Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible
If your child was born addicted to opioids, you can pursue compensation from the drug maker through a product liability lawsuit. Product liability is a complex area of law and each case is unique. You need the help of an experienced product liability attorney who understands cases involving the opioid crisis and birth injuries. The money that you can recover can help pay for your baby’s medical expenses, and long-term needs arising out of the opioid injuries.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
NAS is a life-threatening opioid withdrawal condition that can result in harm including:
- Developmental delays
- Behavioral problems
- Undeveloped liver
Babies born with NAS can require very close monitoring and careful treatment in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) as they are weaned off the drugs. Withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days after a baby is born and include:
- Excessive crying
- High-pitched crying
- Breathing problems
- Stuffy nose or sneezing
- Excessive yawning
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty eating
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Tight muscle tone
- Fever or unstable temperature
- Sweating or blotchy skin
If your baby was born addicted to opioids, please do not wait until it is too late to talk contact an experienced product liability attorney and schedule your free consultation.