Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs because a pregnant woman takes opiate or narcotic drugs such as heroin, codeine, oxycodone (Oxycontin) methadone or buprenorphine.
These and other substances pass through the placenta that connects the baby to its mother in the womb. The baby becomes addicted along with the mother.
At birth, the baby is still dependent on the drug. Because the baby is no longer getting the drug after birth, symptoms of withdrawal may occur.
Alcohol and other drugs use during pregnancy can also cause problems in the baby.
Babies of mothers who use other addictive drugs (nicotine, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana,) may have long-term problems. However, there is no clear evidence of a neonatal abstinence syndrome for these drugs.