Drug addiction in infants

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The term drug addiction can not be properly applied in infants, who have been prenatally exposed either to legal or illegal substances.[1] Addiction is a technical term that refers to compulsive behavior that continues in spite of adverse consequences.[2][3] Thus, by definition, infants cannot be "addicted" to drugs. Addiction is different from in utero physiologic dependence on opiates, known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which is readily diagnosed. No such symptoms of dependence have been found to occur following prenatal cocaine or methamphetamine exposure.[4][5] Babies born today that are addicted to prescription painkillers has tripled in the last decade.[6]

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