Effects of Teratogens on Fetuses : Heroin
Kamryn Rapko and Jaiden Wiscinski
Psychology, Period 3
St. Joseph High School
March 11 , 2015
HEROIN- Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is derived from the morphine alkaloid found is an opium and is roughly 2-3 times more potent. A highly addictive drug, heroin exhibits euphoric ("rush"), anxiolytic and analgesic central nervous system properties. (Definition: “http://www.drugs.com/illicit/heroin.html )
1. Research a teratogen and its effects both long and short term, during prenatal development on the brain and body after birth.
Short term effects of heroin on the fetus include excessive crying, fever, arability, seizures, slow weight gain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, excessive sucking, and sweating.
Long term effects of heroin on the fetus include tremors, liver disease, infection of the heart lining, skin sores, congestive lungs, high risk of aids, NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome), blotchy skin, head circumference, SIDS( Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and premature birth.
2. Has there been an increase or decrease in popularity of heroin use during pregnancy?
Heroin use in pregnancy is uncommon and it is estimated that only about 4% of women in America are addicted to an illicit drug such as heroin.
3. What steps can parents take during prenatal development as well as after the fetus’s birth to lessen the effects of heroin?
For prenatal babies, there is no treatment other than having the mom stop using heroin. As for after birth, there are two significant treatments the baby can have. The first recommended treatment is detox which is a process in which the teratogen, in this case heroin, is removed from the baby. Detox helps reduce and relieve withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, seizures, sweating and active weight loss. The second most recommended treatment is called the Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMS). The MSS treatment is a comprehensive treatment program that involves prescribing methadone as an alternative to heroin. The methadone is cheap and acts as heroin without the side effects. One of the major upsides of methadone is that after regular practice of MMS, the baby does not become dependent on the drug.
4. Once the fetus is born, what help is there for the parents whose child suffers from the effects of heroin?
After the birth of the fetus there are many different organizations that provide help and guidance for parents and children who use drugs. In Canada the two popular organizations the Portage’s Mother and Child Program in Quebec, and the Canada Alcohol and Drug Rehab Program which has programs all over Canada. The Canada Alcohol and Drug Rehab program also provides a toll free number that is available all the