Shocking statistics reveal number of children born with addictions rises in Forth Valley

Shocking figures have revealed the number of babies born addicted to drugs in the region doubled in 2023.

The data has been revealed as part of a freedom of information request and shows that a total of 195 children were diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) upon birth across Scotland last year.

The condition details when babies are born showing signs of drug addiction due to their mothers taking legal or illegal drugs during their pregnancy.

In Forth Valley, the number of babies with symptoms associated with NAS in 2023 was 11 compared to five the previous year, however only two babies required treatment.

Since 2017, 44 babies have displayed symptoms associated with NAS in Forth Valley - with more than 1,300 kids affected by the syndrome in Scotland in the same time period.

The symptoms of NAS include uncontrollable trembling, hyperactivity, blotchy skin and high-pitch crying.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Drug deaths make the headlines but in a host of other ways drug misuse can make lives a misery. “There is perhaps no more awful start in life for a new-born baby than to be born dependent on drugs.

“The Scottish Government need to shoulder some of the blame. The cuts they delivered meant drug and alcohol services closed their doors and valuable expertise was lost.”

Drug policy minister Elena Whitham said: “No newborn baby should be born dependent on substances and mothers should be able to get the help they need, free from judgment and stigma.

“We are increasing investment in local services and providing support to women and families as part of our national mission, backed by £250million, to tackle the drug deaths emergency.

“We are also committed to preventing the harm caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy, of which there is no safe level, and to supporting those impacted by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.”