Category Archives: World Issues

Rise in drug addicted babies

A new Australian study has found that the number of newborns suffering serious drug withdrawal symptoms is now more than 40 times higher than in 1980.

The research, published in the latest edition of the international journal Pediatrics, also found that these infants were at greater risk of neglect and of being taken into care.

The data analysis revealed that of 637195 live births in Western Australia between 1980 and 2005, 906 were diagnosed with Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome. For every year, there was an average 16.4% increase in children born with the syndrome.

Report co-author, Professor Fiona Stanley from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, said the study identified a range of factors that should assist with the early identification of children at risk.

“It is clear that if we are to reduce the number of these children suffering from abuse and neglect, then there is a need to start working with their mothers before these babies are born, and ideally, pre-conception,” Professor Stanley said.

“Our data show that the majority of the mothers had already had contact with hospitals for mental health and substance use issues which suggests there could have been numerous opportunities to intervene to prevent unplanned pregnancy and provide intensive support with antenatal care and substance abuse treatment.”

“A multidisciplinary team that includes obstetricians, social workers, drug and alcohol workers, and welfare workers is required to case manage and support the women through the complex issues that they face. However it is imperative that this support continues long term.”

Professor Stanley said the increase in babies suffering NWS reflected the overall rise in substance abuse within the community and the increased recognition of NWS by health professionals. While this study was in WA, it is likely that it reflects a national trend.

“We now have the situation where 4 babies out of every 1000 births are born suffering the effects of illicit drugs — that is over 1000 newborns per year in Australia. This has serious implications for the child, the family and the whole community and is an issue that must be tackled well before these children suffer potential harm.”

The study was made possible by a groundbreaking agreement by the Western Australian Government Departments of Health and Child Protection that allowed health and welfare records to be linked and the de-identified information given to researchers for analysis.


This should make the Conference on Prenatal Drug Exposure more popularly attending on
October 8, 2009, at the Seattle Airport Hilton Hotel and Conference Center.

The conference is designed for social service providers, medical personnel, caregivers, public officials, and others who work with infants and children impacted by drugs. There is no charge for the conference, but pre-registration is required and a donation of $50.00 to support the work of PICC would be appreciated.

Noise for the Needy

Seattle-based non profit Noise For The Needy, an organization that raises money for charitable causes through the production of live music shows, has announced the lineup for this year’s festival. Headliners include the 1990s (Scotland), Art Brut (UK), The Constantines (Canada), Grand Archives, Crystal Antlers and Throw Me The Statue. This year’s shows will take place at several venues across Seattle June 10th through 14th, will feature over 40 bands, and benefits Transitional Resources, a licensed mental health center and residential program located in West Seattle that offers a full spectrum of optimistic and respectful mental health services to adults with major mental illnesses.

To start things off, Noise For The Needy is holding a Festival Season Kickoff Party at Woodshed Studios on Saturday, April 18th that features DJ Chrispo (Studio 66), Truckasaurus, Erik Blood, Exohxo, Origami Ghosts and Solomon Giorgio. The event is 21+, and begins with a free happy hour from 6 PM-9 PM. The show itself starts at 9 PM; tickets are $6. All proceeds from the event will go directly towards Noise For The Needy’s 2009 festival budget.

Neumos: 1990s (Scotland), New Faces, Special Guest. 9PM | 21+ | $10
The Comet: Coulter, This Is A Process of Still Life, Safer, Skeletons With Flesh On Them. 9PM | 21+ | $7

Tractor Tavern: Throw Me The Statue, Awesome!!!, Velella Velella. 9PM | 21+ | $12
Sunset Tavern: Widower, Painted Hills, Jack Wilson & the Wife Stealers, Shane Tutmarc & the Traveling Mercies. 9PM | 21+ | $8
Conor Byrne: Lucy Bland, Half Light, Trentalange, Cataldo. 9PM | 21+ | $7

The Crocodile: Grand Archives, See Me River, The Curious Mystery. 9PM | 21+ | $12 ADV/$15 DOS
Underground Events Center @ Belltown: The Whoremoans, Speaker Speaker, The Raggedy Anns, Wallpaper, Special Guest. 9PM | 21+ | $7

Neumos: Art Brut (UK), Special Guests. 9PM | ALL AGES Bar w/ID| $13
Wildrose: Black Eyes & Neckties, Transliberation Army, Loving Thunder, The Beats, Man. 9PM | 21+ | $7
High Dive: Furniture Girls, Anomie Belle, Hotels, Born Anchors. 9PM | 21+ | $8
The Comet: Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, The Valley, An Invitation to Love, The Beautiful Confusion, The Thoughts. 8PM | 21+ | $8
Chop Suey: Special Guest, Black Whales, The Pica Beats, Grant Olsen (Arthur & Yu). 9PM | 21+ | $10

Neumos: The Constantines (Toronto), Crystal Antlers, I Was a King (Norway), Hey Marseilles. 9PM | 21+ | $12
The Comet: Reptet, Gravelroad, Purty Mouth, Sam Marshall Trio. 5PM | 21+ | $6

Public Health in Haiti’s

Port-au-Prince, a city of 3.5 million people of which half live in slums, has 21 public health facilities including four hospitals. These fee-for-service facilities hardly function due to a lack of paid medical staff, equipment and supplies.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

“It’s unacceptable today that Haiti’s poorest have no access to affordable and quality emergency trauma and obstetrical care services,” says Brian Phillip Moller, head of mission for MSF’s Trinité trauma and rehabilitation center. “While the Haitian government and donors focus on the economic development of the country they can no longer ignore the desperate needs of impoverished Haitians for quality and accessible public medical care.”

Public hospital and clinics are often plagued by management problems, strikes, and shortages of staff, drug, and medical supplies.

MSF started providing emergency care when violence in Port-au-Prince limited access to health care for its population. Today, although the security situation has improved, the health needs of the vulnerable population of Port-au-Prince remain largely unaddressed.

MSF invests more than 13 million euros (US $17.5 million) per year in its emergency medical programs in Haiti. MSF’s obstetric hospital currently manages 40 percent of all obstetric emergencies for vulnerable women in Port-au-Prince, while MSF’s Trinité hospital treated close to 17,950 trauma cases in 2008, and has the only adequate burns unit in Haiti. Likewise, 16,950 medical emergency cases were treated at MSF’s hospital in the slum Martissant in 2008, where no other public health services exist. During the April 2008 demonstrations against rapidly increasing food prices, MSF teams treated more than 44 gunshot-wounded patients in four days, an indicator of the instability of this Caribbean nation.

For all Doctors Without Borders content about Haiti, click here >>

Photo Credit: Andy Levin

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month and nearly 500,000 pinwheels have been distributed nationwide by Prevent Child Abuse America as the centerpiece of our new campaign Pinwheels for Prevention. Through out chapters in 47 states and Healthy Families America sites in over 400 communities, Prevent Child Abuse America works to provide healthy, stable, and stimulating experiences for children in communities across the country. Prevent Child Abuse America highlights the fact that we all play a role in raising children whether we are neighbors, teachers, police officers, librarians, mentors, coaches, or family members. In April, as well as year around, we want to highlight how you can become involved with child abuse prevention efforts in your community.

For those of you interested in what is happening this month in April for Child Abuse Prevention…

1,500 Child Abuse Prevention Resource Packets were developed and distributed to local childcare centers and schools in Delaware. The recipients are encouraged to use the materials to share with the children and families they are involved with and they also have the opportunity to order as many pinwheels as needed to hand out to the children at no cost to them. Each pinwheel is accompanied by an information card for the parent/caregiver. The paper pinwheel activity, pinwheel coloring sheet and a lesson plan are all materials that are included in the packet.

Pinwheels and baseball caps will also be handed out to as many as 1,000 children at an upcoming Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball game along with other prevention information. In addition over 600 pinwheels will be distributed and will also go on display in flower pots throughout the Dover Air Force Base in recognition of the campaign.

To see what your state is doing, click here.

Bad things

Sometimes you can just sense when something is wrong. At least I can. And about 10 minutes ago I brought something upstairs to wash. As I was walking downstairs I felt weird, cold and shakey. I fell down about 5 stairs. I’m fine. Just sprained my shoulder.

Took some Tylenol and turned on Heroes. To breaking news. Something tragic has happened at the Naval Yard in South Philadelphia. 4 people killed, 1 critically injured. The shooter turned the gun on himself. I’m not sure what happened. It just upsets me when bad things happen. Life is so precious, so short, why would anyone do this? I have been angry and depressed, but I would never take an innocent person’s life. I just don’t understand.