Nearly 5 Percent of West Virginia Babies Born Drug Dependent in 2016

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BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) – State health statistics show that nearly 5 percent of babies born in West Virginia in 2016 were born drug-dependent.

Out of every 1,000 live births in the state last year, 49.9 babies were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a result of the sudden discontinuation of the baby’s in-utero exposure to substances used by the mother during pregnancy.

The information is based on the latest data from the West Virginia Health Statistics Center.

In 2014, the rate was 32.1 babies per 1,000, and in 2015, the rate was 34.4.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources did not begin collecting NAS data from birth certificates until 2014. Public Information Officer Toby Wagoner said the data, therefore, is likely underreported.