In Withdrawal: Treating the Babies of Illinois’ Opioid Crisis

March 27, 2018

(Crain’s Business Chicago) – The opioid epidemic has unleashed a storm that’s battering its tiniest victims, whether their moms used legally or not during pregnancy. The number of babies born with withdrawal symptoms—inconsolable crying, trembling and, in the worst cases, seizures—is skyrocketing across the country as opioid use grips their parents. A severe drought of treatment options in Illinois for pregnant women in the throes of addiction suggests there’s no resolution in sight. The burden to treat these babies is enormous—on the hospitals that care for them, on the state Medicaid program that largely incurs the cost, and on the generation of children who face little-understood long-term consequences.

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