Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

OUR VIEWS ; Bill Would Help Youngest Victims of Drug Abuse; Cradle Act Seeks to Expand Care, Resources to Babies Born Addicted

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

OUR VIEWS ; Bill Would Help Youngest Victims of Drug Abuse; Cradle Act Seeks to Expand Care, Resources to Babies Born Addicted

Article excerpt

As the number of people addicted to heroin and other opioids grows, so, too, do other statistics. According to a study by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the prevalence of neonatal abstinence syndrome or babies exposed to opioids during pregnancy has increased significantly: 3.39 of every 1,000 U.S. hospital births as of 2009, up from 1.20 per every 1,000 births in 2000.

According to an op-ed by U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, estimates show 7 percent of babies born each year in West Virginia were exposed to narcotics in the womb. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, stiffness, difficulty feeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting and seizures.

But there are ways to help.

Although medication-assisted treatment is a centerpiece of managing opioid dependency in pregnancy, it is best applied as part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes obstetric care, counseling, and wrap-around services, the study found. Family- centered care that is community-based is the ideal course to increase access and provide follow-up for the mother, infant, and familys evolving needs.

Lilys Place, located in Huntington, is one such family- centered, community-based program, and one of the first standalone facilities in the country. …

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