Donna Leinwand Leger
USA TODAY 
November 14, 2011
Medical authorities are witnessing explosive growth in the number of newborn babies hooked on prescription painkillers, innocent victims of their mothers’ addictions.
The trend reflects how deeply rooted abuse of powerful narcotics, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, has become. Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I’m scared to death this will become the crack-baby epidemic,” says Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Last month, she asked the state Legislature to establish a task force to compile data on drug-exposed babies and develop prevention strategies.
National statistics on the number of babies who go through withdrawal are not available, and states with the worst problems have only begun to collect data. Scattered reports show the number of addicted newborns has doubled, tripled or more over the past decade. In Florida, the epicenter of the illicit prescription drug trade, the number of babies with withdrawal syndrome soared from 354 in 2006 to 1,374 in 2010, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration .