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Health News Florida

SWFL State Senator Says Opioids Are Hurting Newborns

Blood is collected from a newborn for screening.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Perhaps the most vulnerable victims of the opioid crisis are babies born addicted. Known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, babies born to mothers who’ve taken opioids during pregnancy themselves must endure the painful symptoms of withdrawal during their first days of life.


Risks and symptoms include premature birth, tremors, irritability and almost constant inconsolable crying, hyperactive reflexes, poor feeding, dehydration and even seizures to name a few.


Dr. William Liu, a neonatologist and medical director of Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, says the number of babies being admitted to Lee Health facilities with neonatal abstinence syndrome has increased a staggering 1,200 percent since 2005.


Republican state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo of Naples joins Gulf Coast Live to give a closer look at a legislative effort she’ll continue to champion that would create a new pilot program aimed at better addressing the needs of NAS babies and their families.

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