ILLEGAL DRUGS: LIBDEMS reveal 1,100 babies born dependent on substances over five years

A child in the womb and LibDem leader Alex Cole Hamilton.

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today demanded that the Scottish Government commit to creating world-leading drug and alcohol services after new figures revealed that at least 1,100 babies have been born dependent on substances since 2017.

Statistics compiled by the Scottish Liberal Democrats through freedom of information requests show that at least 1,123 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – showing signs of drug addiction because of their mother taking legal or illegal drugs during pregnancy.

The health board reporting the most cases was NHS Lothian with 609, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with 183 and NHS Grampian with 156.

The symptoms of NAS, caused by drugs passing from the mother to her foetus’ blood stream during pregnancy, include uncontrollable trembling, hyperactivity, blotchy skin and high-pitch crying.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:“There figures are utterly heart-breaking. There is perhaps no worse possible start in life for a new-born baby.

“Earlier this year, independent experts described the government’s current funding for drugs and alcohol as woefully inadequate for this level of public emergency. Years of under-funding saw valuable local facilities shut their doors and critical expertise lost. Nicola Sturgeon has admitted her government wasn’t paying attention while Scotland’s situation became many times worse than anywhere else in Europe.

Scan of a foetus in the womb of a mother in hospital.

“It is time for radical action, not just to help people struggling with drug misuse today, but for future generations too. That means investing in local services which are best placed to intervene to stop lives from being lost and new lives starting dependent on substances.

“Drug misuse should always be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice matter. Anything else will condemn many more children to be born into these awful circumstances.”

One comment

  1. Could agree more this is an utterly heartbreaking statistic. But I’m surprised that it is not more than that number.

    Drug use, drug supply, is at absolutely gargantuan levels in Scotland. It is big big business. The Police know, or should know who the cartels are. The Councils know too, or should know because they interact with the various syndicates.

    The desire to take mind altering drugs be it alcohol to hash to cocaine to heroin is something that many human beings do across the world and have done since time immemorial.

    The money involved is moreover huge. And of course money talks. It talks to police, council officials, and in fact is a way of doing business. So where do we go from here. A thousand babies born with a drug addition is a shocker. But so is the drug deaths which have now for years been soaring across Scotland. And so is the black economy that has blossomed to service the drug demand and channel profits into other enterprises.

    Sturgeon’s government has failed. And I do not attack her government without just reason. Drug deaths are substantially greater per population than in England, and by orders of magnitude greater than our neighbouring countries. She fiddles with trans issues, the right to change ones sex, how children are to be supported in matters LGBQT whilst Scotland burns.

    Time we had a look at what other European countries do or is it Sturgeon’s Scotland is just a rotten burgh.

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