Recent headlines indicate that the use of addictive drugs like heroin by pregnant women transfers the addiction to the unborn child. Babies born drug dependent need special care and suffer withdrawal symptoms as they are weaned off the drug.
However the figures for drug-dependent babies are dwarfed by those who suffer permanent disability, both mental and physical, as a result of their mother’s drinking. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 100 babies is born with some degree of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome which, even in its mildest manifestations, can result in behavioural difficulties that are challenging both for parents and society as a whole.
It is tragic that so many children suffer through no fault of their own – and this highlights the need for drug and alcohol education to stay high on the agenda both inside and outside of the school system.