Babies born addicted to opioids, drugs on rise in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin is seeing an increase in babies born dependent on opioids or other addictive drugs.

The state Department of Health Services says 598 babies were born addicted, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, in 2015. That's up from 142 in 2006.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports  the rate of babies born with NAS more than quadrupled during that time, from two cases per 1,000 births to 8.9 cases per 1,000 births.

The data shows the highest rates are in Ashland, Iron and Vilas counties, in northern Wisconsin.

The long-term impact on babies isn't clear, but short-term consequences are significant. Babies struggle with withdrawal and have seizures, diarrhea, rapid breathing, difficulty feeding and other problems.

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