New data from the Tennessee Health Department shows more drug dependent newborns in the first nine months of this year than in all of 2011.
By the first week of this month, 643 babies were born dependent, compared with 629 two years ago. Commissioner John Dreyzehner says at that rate the department is projecting more than 800 drug-dependent newborns by year end.
He says data shows the majority of the births involved a mother taking medicine prescribed by a health care provider.
Dreyzehner says there needs to be improved conversations between women and their doctors about waiting for a safer time for medically necessary treatments.