More babies born with drug and alcohol addictions

Sarah Beasley Aontú National Secretary

LIMERICK campaigner and Aontú National Secretary Sarah Beasley has called on the government to examine the impact lockdown has had on drug and alcohol addiction.

Ms Beasley was speaking after statistics released to the party show a rise in the number of babies born with drug and alcohol addictions in 2020.

According to the HSE, the number of cases relating to addiction or withdrawal symptoms from maternal use of drugs rose from 93 in 2017 to 102 in 2020.

“The figures released to Aontú show that while the number of babies born with drug or alcohol addictions has dramatically reduced over the past decade, the first year of the pandemic saw a rise in the figures,” Ms Beasley told the Limerick Post.

The Rhebogue activist believes it is important that the government now commit to assessing the impact that the pandemic, particularly lockdowns, have had on drug and alcohol addiction statistics.

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“The image of a baby being born with an addiction in any of our hospitals is a very distressing image, and I’ve spoken to local midwives who’ve said that there is nothing more heartbreaking than weaning a newborn baby off illegal drugs or alcohol.

I hope the Minister for Health will commit to undertaking a study of the negative impacts the lockdowns had on vulnerable people”, Ms Beasley concluded.