7% of 5,000 babies born in a Perth hospital (King Edward Memorial) have chemical dependency problems stemming from maternal illicit substance use. This has prompted the House of Representatives Families Committee to take evidence in WA tomorrow as part of its inquiry into the impact of drugs on families.
Chairman Bronwyn Bishop said it was important to hear from practitioners at the hospital about the problems faced by babies whose mothers have a drug dependency. They will give evidence on how maternal use of illicit drugs such as amphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and ice can affect fetal development and infant health.
I thought this was a stunning statistic given the extensive evidence on the effects of drugs on the unborn and infants. Consumption of drugs during pregnancy is responsible for 2-3% of birth defects and use of illicit addictive drugs raises the prospect of dependency and withdrawal as well as long-term adverse health effects for the child.
How can these irresponsible women live with themselves? Why do they have kids if they are dependent on drugs? What about the future of these unfortunate children?