Heroin Babies

During my presentation I usually build in a time for questions with students. I do this to answer questions but I also do this to find out the temperature of drug use in that area. If kids are asking a bunch of questions about mixing things to weed, then I know that is going on. If students are asking questions about XTC, then I know that is going on. I am now starting to get question, lots of them, about heroin. One question I received was regarding heroin babies, here are some thoughts.

Heroin is bad for your baby. Did you know that babies in the USA exposed to heroin or prescription opiates (like codeine and Vicodin) in utero (in the womb) suffer from terrible withdrawal syndrome when they’re born? They’ve been getting their heroin fix as they developed in the mother’s body and then when they’re out of there, it’s like literally quitting heroin cold turkey. Heroin babies often deal with all sorts of health problems, from seizures to unstable body temperatures, along with breathing, stomach, and feeding difficulties. They usually have to stay in the hospital for weeks, getting methadone doses in order to be weaned off drugs. Long story short: no baby should have to be a heroin baby; it’s a horrible experience for the kid.

Interestingly, in the late 1800s, heroin was seen as a wonder drug. Now, people wonder why that was the case. Back then, companies like Bayer would sell it to the public, thinking heroin made people feel heroic. It was even marketed to kids to supposedly help their respiratory health when tuberculosis was rampant. Finally, many middle-class and upper-class women became addicted to heroin/opiates in the late 1800s because it was an active ingredient in the cough syrup they kept in their medicine cabinets– an item used often, for almost any ailment. Even in the early 1900s, heroin was believed to be non habit-forming and seen as good for people.

As society learned more about heroin over time, it went from being a good thing to being a bad thing. Addicts, aka “junkies,” included many Vietnam vets who wanted something to feel better (perhaps “heroic”) but now we all know better: heroin is an addictive drug that can and does ruin many lives. It’s not something you want to mess with, because it will mess with you, your family, your friends, your baby, etc. Heroin ruins lives.