Number of drug-exposed newborns has tripled in Louisiana since 2008

The Times-Picayune - The number of infants born exposed to alcohol and drugs in Louisiana has nearly tripled since 2008, driven in part by a rise in heroin and prescription painkiller use among pregnant women, according to the Department of Child and Family Services.

In 2008, the department reported 569 valid allegations of babies born with detectable amounts of drugs or alcohol in their systems. By 2015, the number of valid cases had climbed to 1,512.

Denise Evans, the department's regional administrator for the area covering Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Jefferson Parishes, said 80 percent of cases referred to her office now involve substance-exposed newborns.