So claims a study conducted in Sweden of 200 opiate addicts, which made a cautious correlation between drug addiction among those whose mothers had used opiates, barbiturates or nitrous oxide during child birth, all drugs that cross the placenta.
According to the study, offspring of mothers who had been drugged were five times more likely to become addicts than those whose mothers had had no drug. The likelihood of drug addiction also "increased with the number of administrations of any of the three drugs", said the study.
According to the study, this correlation has to do with the phenomenon of "imprinting" that is, the memory of a specific event encoded in the brain during a sensitive early period subsequently leading to a particular behaviour in adult life.
"For obstetric pain relief methods are preferable that do not permit substantial passage of drug through the placenta."