More babies have been born addicted to drugs in Tennessee over the last nine months than in the entire year of 2011.
By the first week of October, 643 babies were born dependent to drugs, compared to 629 babies born addicted in all of 2011.
Inside Holston Valley's neonatal intensive care unit, half of the 12 babies there were born addicted to drugs because of their mothers.
Dr. Peter Earl, an obstetrician and gynecologist, works with these women and knows all too well about new numbers released by the Tennessee Health Department.
He says he tries to get the women help and closely monitors their progress. "We try to get them into some sort of treatment facility or program if we can. We monitor their pregnancy as carefully as possible," says Dr. Earl.
In the Niswonger Children's Hospital, roughly 40 percent of the babies in their NICU were born addicted. "The baby is extremely jittery, extremely irritable, would not sleep, may even have seizures," says Dr. Des Bharti.
The newborns have to be treated with medications like morphine and methadone, often staying in the hospital for around 20 days.
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