In 2013, there were more than 1,300 Massachusetts babies born with opiates in their blood. A review of hospital diagnoses submitted to the federal government show an average of 17.5 per 1,000 births involve a baby adicted to opiates. That’s more than triples the national average of about five births per 1,000, and far exceeds the state’s own count of just 128 births in 2013, according to The Boston Globe.

From the Globe:

The state’s figures are based on cases reported to the Department of Children and Families. State law mandates hospital staff to report instances of addicted newborns to the child protection agency, but some experts say the numbers are underreported because of the stigma and fear that mothers will lose their children. A department spokeswoman says the number only includes addicted babies who show withdrawal symptoms.

Asked why the state does not instead analyze and publicize the hospital statistics that it submits annually to the federal government, a spokesman for the Massachusetts agency that collects the data said it does not have the manpower to sort through the thousands of hospital procedure codes in its database.

Click here to read the full Boston Globe story.

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