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Born addicted to drugs

The number of babies born addicted to drugs in Florida is so high that the state Attorney General is now taking action.

Pam Bondi and 42 other attorneys general sent a letter to the FDA asking for warning labels on narcotics.
Bondi is also launching a new campaign to educate expectant mothers and others about the problem.

The president of this clinic, Pediatric Associates, here in Pensacola says he's seen this problem get worse and worse over the past five years.

Patrick Murray, M.D., Pediatrician: "It is a major issue."
Doctor Patrick  Murray says he treats five to ten babies a year that are addicted to substances.

Patrick Murray, M.D., Pediatrician: "The symptoms are jitteriness. You may see excessive sneezing. They have increased muscle tone. They're kind of rigid. Sometimes they have diarrhea. We have had babies have seizures."

Seven out of every one-thousand babies born in Florida suffer from what's called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a painful withdrawal from drugs after birth.
   
In 2011, there were nearly 1600 cases statewide.
That's three times the number of cases diagnosed in 2007.

Sharon Roper, Mother: "It's awful, it's just. It's painful."
Mothers we spoke with were shocked to hear about how big of a problem it is.

Sharon Roper, Mother: "To go through withdrawals and not know it, you know, a child, an innocent child like that."

Candice Armendariz, Mother: "There's so many people that, they're hooked on those drugs and I think the problem is the doctors that are prescribing them, they give a little bit too much."
   
The state Attorney General has launched a program called "Born Drug Free Florida".
It's an effort to educate expectant mothers about the importance of talking about prescription drug use with their doctors.

Patrick Murray, M.D., Pediatrician: "Any of the things the mother takes during pregnancy, the baby is exposed to."

The campaign includes a help-line and a website, which we've posted in the Newslinks section of weartv.com