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Heroin Addicted Babies: Congressman Calls for Help in Miami Valley
DAYTON-- Congressman Mike Turner (10th District) held a forum at Wright State University to address the epidemic of babies born in the Miami Valley addicted to heroin. Hospitals in the greater to Dayton Area are on board to help with Turner's efforts, their special care nurses help the tiniest local victims of the heroin epidemic through their withdraw symptoms.
"Yes, they can be born addicted to something," said Special Care Nurse Kim Schneider at Kettering Health Network's Soin Medical Center. Schneider is often one of the first faces a newborn sees, when their fragile bodies are going through heroin withdraw.
"The babies have a lot of symptoms," she said, "They may show with GI problems, a lot of jittery-ness, they can have tremors, a variety of things that are associated and so we have to care for them. Some of them are put on medication for that."
Schneider says she has noticed an uptick in the number of babies born exposed to opiates. Soin's neonatal intensive care unit can care for four babies at a time. In 2013, Soin treated 6 newborns with drug exposure, but that's just a small fraction of the hundreds of babies born with similar exposure in all of the region's hospitals last year.
"What we're seeing is a crisis," said Congressman Mike Turner at the forum Monday.
"This is shocking, I think most people in our community are--heard that heroin is a problem in our community, and I don't think they're hearing the effects on the smallest ones in our community. We're going to pool the resources of the community together, try to help these mothers, and help these newborns," Turner said.
Attending the forum, new mother and recovering heroin addict Jamie Holland of Springfield, who thanks God that her two week old son Blake was born without symptoms of Jamie's heroin dependency. Holland turned herself in to child services four months before delivering Blake, and got the help she needed to kick her drug habit.
"It saved my life it saved my son's life," Holland said.
At the forum, Turner said he was alerted to how severe the problem had become during a tour of Soin Medical Center.
He added that the next step is to connect the women and babies who need help to the right resources.
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