SPRINGFIELD, MO (03/01/18) - The alarming amount of babies born with an opioid addiction in The Ozarks seems to be growing. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 100 children test positive for opioid addiction each day.
And at Cox Health they say it’s an issue that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Amy Jackson, a 15 year veteran in the NICU, remembers the first time she saw a baby born with an opioid addiction and she sees at least two new babies every day dealing with addiction.
“We have definitely seen an increase in the last few years in the babies that we have here that are born addicted," says Jackson. And that’s just in the NICU. She says that in the Women and Newborn Center they’ve seen an increase too.
Stats show that roughly about 4 percent of women in The Ozarks in 2016 exposed their unborn children to opioids and Jackson says there is a lot of complications. "When they’re trying to eat, if they’re breathing fast, that food can get into their lungs and they can even have seizures when they’re withdrawing.”
Symptoms can include; tremors, crying, constant yawning, and excessive sucking on a pacifier. But there are ways Cox Health is treating these babies.
Jackson says, "Sometimes, our moms that are in a treatment facility and using methadone, if they breastfeed sometimes the methadone is secreted into the breast milk and it’s a small amount it helps the baby going through withdraw without it needing further medication from us.”
Jackson explains that it is possible for addicted babies to grow up and live normal lives. But will have to wait till their, at least, school age to know if they have any learning disabilities.
If you or someone you know is pregnant and addicted to opioids and don’t know where to turn there is always help. Local professionals are always looking to help.