A Tide of Opioid-Dependent Newborns Forces Doctors to Rethink Treatment
RICHMOND, Ky. — Just 24 hours old, Jay’la Cy’anne Clay already was having a rough day.
Convulsions rocked her tiny body as she lay under warming lights in the nursery of the Baptist Health Richmond hospital. She vomited and made strange, high-pitched cries.
The infant was going through opioid withdrawal.
For more than a decade, her mother, Jamie Clay, 28, had been hooked on oxycodone. For six months now, she had been in a recovery program, taking another opioid that eased her addiction but put her baby at risk for withdrawal.
From 2003 to 2012, the last year for which statistics are available, the number of babies born dependent on drugs grew nearly fivefold in the United States. Opioids are the main culprit, and states like Kentucky are particularly hard-hit: 15 of every 1,000 infants here are born dependent on opioids.
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