No one wants to talk about this part of The Opioid Epidemic.
Tiny addicted babies.
This is why the 2017 Daytona Blues Festival supports the Betty Jane France Neonatal ICU at Halifax Health and Project WARM, Women Assisting Recovering Mothers.
“There is an epidemic of narcotic use in our country. It affects young women, and therefore it affects unborn, newborns and children. If not addressed we will lose many of our next generation to poverty, illness and early death.
But while stopping most drugs is the best during pregnancy, repeated narcotic withdrawal is harmful. Doctors “maintain” pregnant women on legal opioids, and then wean both mom and baby after delivery. This reduces illegal IV use and its consequences.
But when maintenance is not available, many pregnant women avoid withdrawal by getting opioids from “the street”, exposing themselves and their babies to HIV, hepatitis and infections that can destroy the heart or bones. These mothers-to-be do not want to be addicted. They are frightened of losing their children or their doctor. Many don’t disclose their use to their doctors, if they seek prenatal care at all. Some physicians will dismiss such patients, due to the risk. Without regular care, these women come to the hospitals at term, or earlier in labor. Their newborns often stay in the neonatal ICU for weeks being treated for opioid withdrawal. This occurs for infants born from moms on legal or street opioids. The number of addicted babies in our NICUs is exploding nationwide.
Currently we do not have options for residential care of opioid addicted women who choose or are already maintained on opioids for the duration of their pregnancy. We do not have a formal detoxification program for women who desire to be weaned off their substances while pregnant. Many would choose this, as they want drug free newborns. Many would like to go into Project WARM, but cannot until they are drug free. Families are being destroyed.
Programs to support these populations of pregnant women require input from our medical community, social services, law enforcement, county and state and federal administrations. It can mean the difference between children who grow to be healthy, productive people and children who never reach their potential and need our chronic support.
So whether you are a local and can support our local NICU, Project WARM and other programs—or whether you have traveled here for the blues and returning home after the Daytona Blues Festival to your own communities and their programs—think about what matters most—the health and happiness of the next generation depends upon you.”
– Dr. Pamela Carbiener, Co-Founder of the Daytona Blues Festival