Prosecute mothers of drug-addicted infants

DEAR EDITOR:

As a future health care provider, I feel that a huge issue in our area is babies born addicted to drugs, also referred to as NAS, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, babies .

According to the CDC, Ohio is ranked in the top five states with the highest number of drug overdoses. As a nursing student, I find these numbers to be appalling. Not only do these drugs harm the mother, but they are harmful to the fetus. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal.” These babies need specialized care and are often hospitalized for longer periods of time while they are going through withdrawal due to respiratory problems and low birth weights. The average stay for a NAS baby is 16.9 days, compared to babies born without addiction, 2.1 days, which costs hospitals approximately $1.5 billion dollars.

I am writing this letter because I feel that as an advocate to my future tiny patients, there needs to be some sort of justice for these children who suffer from lifelong developmental issues. This issue continues to be such a prevalent problem in our area as mothers continue to have children born addicted to opioids with no repercussions. I am asking that there be a law passed that prosecutes these mothers for their actions, whether it is jail time or rehabilitation. These children don’t have a voice, and I think it is time that we as a community stand up and be the voice for these babies.

JASMINE CROOK

McDonald

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