As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across the nation, it seems nobody is safe from the effects of these terrible drugs, not even our children. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an opioid-addicted baby is born every 25 minutes in the U.S. Sadly, these infants must then suffer through opioid withdrawal, a horribly painful condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
What’s the problem?
When a woman takes an opioid — even a prescription opioid medication given to her by a physician for a legitimate medical purpose — the drug can pass through the placenta and cause serious problems for the baby.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
Neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, is a group of medical conditions that occur when a baby withdraws from a drug he or she has been exposed to in the womb, according to the March of Dimes. Although NAS may be associated with a number of different street drugs or prescription medications, the syndrome is most often used in conjunction with a baby exposed to opioids before birth.
Opioid Addicted Baby Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of withdrawal in full-term babies may include:
- Tremors (trembling)
- Irritability (excessive crying)
- Sleep problems
- High-pitched crying
- Tight muscle tone
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Yawning, stuffy nose, and sneezing
- Poor feeding and suck
- Fever or unstable temperature
Source: Stanford Children’s Health
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Scoring
The Finnegan scale assesses 21 of the most common signs of NAS, and is scored based on the significance and severity of the symptoms, according to Medscape. To obtain a daily average score, measurements are performed every 4 hours until the baby is stable. If 3 consecutive scores are equal to or greater than 8, treatment for withdrawal should be initiated.
There are a number of variables that may impact the severity of a baby’s neonatal abstinence syndrome. These include:
- Timing of the mother’s last opioid intake
- Maternal metabolism
- Placental metabolism
- Infant metabolism and excretion
- Maternal taking of other substances (cigarettes, recreational drugs, sedatives, etc.)
When Babies are Born Withdrawing from Opioids: PBS NewsHour Video
What To Do if Your Baby is Suffering
Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) immediately: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA is a confidential, free, 24/7/365 treatment referral (in English or Spanish) for individuals and families who need help with opioid-addicted babies, or require other emergency drug-related assistance.
For Legal Help: If your child or other loved one was diagnosed with any form of opioid dependence, NAS, or withdrawal symptoms after the mother took a prescription opioid medication as directed during pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact the law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, toll-free at (866) 588-0600, or use the contact form at the bottom of this page. You may be entitled to damages through the filing of a lawsuit and we can help. ACT NOW – each state imposes a specific statute of limitations with its own deadline which all claims must be filed by. Failure to file by the deadline will bar you from the ability to pursue compensation for you child’s injuries.
Are Lawsuits Being Filed?
Yes. More than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed in courts across the U.S. on behalf of plaintiffs claiming manufacturers of opioid medications downplayed and even covered up information regarding their potential health risks. In 2017, these claims were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio. There are currently more than 1,500 lawsuits pending in the MDL.
Can I File a Class Action?
Although Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is a nationally recognized class action firm, we have decided against this type of litigation when it comes to opioid addicted babies. Our lawyers feel that if there is a successful resolution to these cases, individual suits, not class actions will be the best way to get maximum payouts to our clients. If your child or other loved one was born addicted to opioids, we know you’ve suffered emotionally and economically, and want to work with you personally to obtain the maximum compensation for the damages caused by your child’s injuries. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights.
Do I Have an Opioid Addicted Baby Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in opioid addicted baby lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if your baby was born addicted to a prescription opioid medication, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.