A one-month-old baby is fed in Eastern Maine Medical Center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in 2013. Credit: Brian Feulner

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine officials say the number of drug-affected babies born in the state declined last year for the first time in more than a decade.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services says the number fell to 952 in 2017. The number had climbed from 165 in 2005 to 1,024 in 2016. At the trend’s peak, about 8 percent of all babies born in the state were drug-affected.

The health department measures all babies affected by alcohol or drugs, but the spike in drug-affected babies has tracked in line with a worsening opioid crisis. The Portland Press Herald reports members of the state’s treatment community say it’s too early to say if the declining number of affected babies is any indication of progress against the opioid epidemic.

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