‘Heartbreaking’ stats reveal toll of babies born in Forth Valley addicted to drugs

'Heartbreaking' stats reveal toll of babies born in Forth Valley addicted to drugs
Written by Publishing Team

The figures revealed that more than 20 babies have been born addicted to drugs in the Forth Valley since 2017.

Statistics, acquired through an access to information request, show the number of children born with a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

This is caused by substances taken by the mother which pass through the body and are absorbed by the baby itself, which leads the child to become dependent on these drugs before birth.

This means babies can experience symptoms and withdrawal effects when the umbilical cord is cut from the mother, potentially requiring more specialized care as they withdraw in more severe cases.

Symptoms in these cases can include uncontrollable tremors, hyperactivity, spots on the skin, and high-pitched crying.

FOI data shows a total of 852 SIN cases were reported in Scotland from 2017 to 2021, including 21 in the Forth Valley.

More than half of those reported cases – 434 – were recorded in the Lothian area with 143 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 118 in Grampian.

Scottish Lib Dem health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for a significant investment in drug and alcohol services to help bring the problem under control.

Lib Dem health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton denounced the support available

Mr. Cole-Hamilton said: “These numbers are absolutely heartbreaking. It’s hard to imagine a worse possible start in life for a newborn baby.

“In 2016, the Scottish government cut funding for drug and alcohol partnerships by more than 20%. Valuable local facilities closed and expertise was lost, which proved difficult to replace.

“Scotland now has its highest number of drug-related deaths. The Scottish government has made a late start to repair this damage, but there is still a long way to go.

“It is time to take radical action, not only to help those struggling with drug abuse today, but also for generations to come.

“It means investing in local services that are best placed to intervene to prevent lives from being lost and new lives starting to depend on substances.

“Drug abuse should always be treated as a health problem, not a criminal justice issue. Everything else will doom many more unborn children under these terrible circumstances. “


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