More mom, fewer drugs
For 40 years, virtually every hospital in the United States has treated babies born to mothers who are addicted to heroin and other opioids the same way. Newborns are sent straight to intensive care and given morphine, phenobarbital, or other medications to ease their withdrawal symptoms. A children’s ward is the next stop, where doctors and nurses continue administering medication to slowly wean babies from drugs they were exposed to in utero. The painstaking process typically takes three to four weeks, sometimes stretching to more than two months.