THE number of babies born to drug-addicted mothers who required neonatal care has decreased, the Glasgow Times can reveal.

A total of 18 newborns were transferred to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) throughout the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) health board after their births in 2019.

A Freedom of Information requests reveals the figures are a reduction from 24 children in 2018, and 26 in 2017.

Councillor Elspeth Kerr, a member of the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Integration Board, said: "These figures look as if progress is being made reducing the number of children born needing this very specialist care.

"There are some really great recovery programs over the city, both statutory and third sector, which work really hard to make an impact working with people with addictions.

"These need to continue be funded properly to ensure this progress continues."

According to the Scottish Public Health Observatory, drug use was recorded in 848 of the 49,783 maternities in Scotland last year.

Cannabis, opiated and cocaine were among the most common substances recorded.

Overall, 19 babies in the Greater Glasgow area have been reported as being affected by maternal drug use 2018/19.

While in 2016/17, 36 little ones were affected and in 35 in 2017/18.

The numbers have continued to decline since 2011/12, which saw 115 infants affected.

Those under 20 showed the highest rate of drug use in pregnancy, with 54.0 per 1,000 maternities, while those aged 35 to 39-years-old showed the lowest rate, at 11.8 per 1,000.

A spokeswoman for the NHSGGC health board said: "Women with substance misuse in pregnancy are assessed and, where required, additional care and support is provided by multi-disciplinary team, which include Special Needs in Pregnancy Midwives (SNiP’s), Obstetrician linked to SNiPs midwives and addiction services.

"The individual care package will be dependent on the woman’s needs and overseen by the above MDT."