(WBIR) The Tennessee Department of Health reported that more babies in the state have been born dependent on drugs this year than all of 2011.

By the first week of this month, nearly 650 babies were born drug dependent, compared with 629 for all of 2011.

At this rate, the department of health projects mothers will give birth to more than 800 drug dependent newborns by the end of the 2013. According to state data, the majority of these births involved a mother taking medicine prescribed by a health care provider.

Data shows:

  • Just over 42% used only substances prescribed to them for legitimate treatment
  • About 20% used a prescribed and non-prescribed substances
  • About 33% used substances obtained illegally

Drug dependent newborns can be costly for the state. TennCare costs for a healthy newborn are about $4,240. The average cost for a baby born dependent on drugs is nearly $67,000.

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