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Children of the Opioid Crisis

A baby’s hand rests on her mother’s hand.
There is hope for babies born addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers.

A baby is born approximately every 15 minutes in the United States suffering from opioid withdrawal, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the condition has increased 433 percent from 2004 to 2014. Now, eight out of every 1,000 babies born in the hospital in the U.S. suffers from NAS. It’s attributed to both heroin and opioid prescription painkiller use during pregnancy.

Babies born with NAS are irritable, can have feeding or breathing problems and are likely to be underweight.

All of which raises one very important question: What can be done to help these babies?

Helping Infants with NAS

Dr. Stephanie Merhar, a neonatologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, studied the effects of opioid use on 97 infants who had been diagnosed with NAS. What she found is that, while the long-term outlook for these babies is not known, most were able to overcome the effects of NAS by their two-year check-ups.

Dr. Lauren Jansson is the director of pediatrics at the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She said there is one thing we know for sure: That babies suffering from NAS are more likely to do well if their mothers receive treatment.

“The one solid thing we can say about children who are exposed to substances prenatally,” she said, “is that their mothers need treatment.”

In other words, children of recovering addicts can go on to lead healthy and good lives.

Opioid Recovery Benefits and The Raleigh House

If you’re pregnant and using either heroin or opioid painkillers, you may feel hopeless. But research shows that just the opposite is true. By seeking immediate medical help, you can change the future for both your child and yourself.

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially.

We also evaluate—and treat—residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers or heroin treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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