The numbers of Wisconsin babies born with drug dependencies has skyrocketed in the past decade.
State health officials say almost 600 babies were born in 2015 with what's called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome -- a dependence on opioids and other addictive drugs. That's four times the babies born with such conditions in 2006 -- and the rate of drug dependent births jumped from two for every one-thousand live births in '06 to almost nine in 2015. Short term effects include seizures and feeding problems as babies withdraw from their addictions, and the highest rates are in the northern Wisconsin counties of Vilas, Iron, and Ashland. The Wisconsin State Journal says the state's perinatal care association has worked on the matter for more than ten years -- and the cost of treating such babies nationally is one-point-five-billion dollars per year, much of it through Medicaid.