The youngest victims of the pain killer crisis

11:59 PM, Feb 13, 2012   |    comments
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It's hard to watch and hear as a baby screams in pain. The sounds are distinctive to neonatal nurses and doctors alike.

Hundreds of babies around the Bay area are suffering because they were born addicted to painkillers. Their mothers were hooked on these drugs.

Dr. Mary Newport from Springhill Medical Center says in 2010 they had 90 babies. In 2011, it almost tripled.

Nurses and doctors at the center have witnessed this epidemic firsthand. The nurses have to constantly hold, swaddle, and give special care to the babies.

Dr. Newport says, "In most cases, we're having to give these babies a drug as potent as morphine to control their symptoms."

Dr. Ken Solomon is the director of three Bay area neonatal units. He says a hospital stay for a normal baby is two to four days at a cost of a thousand dollars a day. But for drug addicted babies, it's far more costly and, in most cases, the taxpayers are paying for it.

No one knows this like Danielle Ross, who was once an addict. She abused drugs and painkillers while she was pregnant five years ago.

Fortunately, she was able to get the help she needed and her son recovered. Now, she says it was God that gave her her child to help save her life. 

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