Babies born in Tennessee addicted to prescription drugs are on the rise, the Associated Press reported.

The East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn., is on track to treat 320 children this year alone, a jump from 283 last year.

The condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) occurs in newborns after they're exposed to addictive illegal drugs from the mother's blood stream while in the womb, according to the National Institutes of Health. After birth, these babies experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and poor feeding. Symptoms of withdrawal are also seen in babies of alcoholic mothers who drink while pregnant.

In a study published online in the Journal of American Medical Association, researchers found that nearly 13,500 babies were born addicted to opiates in the U.S. From 2000-2009, addiction among pregnant women increased fivefold, which increased the number of babies born addicted to opiates by threefold.

Now officials are attempting to curtail this rampant spread of prescription drug abuse across all states. Appalachian states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, have passed laws to crack down on the abuse. Drugs are easily transported to the region from the southern "pill mills" of Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that found that the amount it costs to treat babies born with an addiction jumped from $39,400 to $53,400 from 2000 to 2009. The expense similarly rose for Medicaid, as well.

Some of the babies are treated with small doses of morphine until they're weaned off in a matter of days or weeks, according to doctors in Tennessee. The staff is on constant alert since the babies could succumb to respiratory failure, an adverse consequence of opiate drugs.

Other symptoms experienced were diarrhea until the buttocks turns red and blistered. The newborns also have difficulty sleeping and may experience frequent seizures. They may have skin disorders and experience tremors. Nurses often cover the newborns' hands in mittens so they're prevented from scratching their faces.