'Parents will be horrified:' more than 1,000 babies born each year addicted to drugs (From Enfield Independent)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting ENFIELD NEWS to 80360, or email us
'Parents will be horrified:' Enfield North MP Nick de Bois calls for tougher jail terms as more than 1,000 babies born each year addicted to drugs
A politician is calling for tougher sentences for drug dealers after he discovered more than 1,000 babies are born each year with addictions passed on by their mothers.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois asked the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt for the statistics during Parliamentary questions.
It revealed a total of 1,033 babies born between 2010 and 2011 needed specialist treatment for addictions from drugs including crack cocaine and heroin.
The babies suffered symptoms including severe vomiting, fever, seizures and breathing difficulties.
The Conservative politician said: “If we are producing 1,000 babies a year born on Class A drugs then we are not winning this so called war on drugs and it is quite clear that some fresh thinking is called for.
"We should have sentences for drug dealers that put the fear of God into them so they won’t deal, of if they persist, will be locked up for such a long time they won’t be able to."
The babies become hooked on drugs when women continue to take the illicit substances during their pregnancies.
According to the statistics, which were released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the number of babies born with addictions has remained largely constant over the past five years.
Last year’s figures are the lowest they have been for five years, after peaking between 2009 and 2010 with 1,150 babies born with serious addictions.
He said the average sentence for drug dealers, which stands at 40 months, is “pathetic” and the Government needs to do more to introduce tougher sentences and stop the criminals in their tracks.
He added: “One child like that is too many. I am a father of four and there will be lots of parents reading this story and they will be horrified.
“I was shocked by it but it highlights how widespread our problem is with drug addicts and drug dealing.”
Mr de Bois believes healthcare offered to mothers with addictions should also be reassessed to ensure the issue is tackled.