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SWFL State Senator Says Opioids Are Hurting Newborns

Blood is collected from a newborn for screening.

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 Passidomoof 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.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

RachelIacovoneis a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast LiveforWGCU News. Rachel came toWGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.
Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.