Rare Media Launches Baby Steps - A Multi-Part Series on the Smallest Victims of U.S. Opioid Crisis
(4 months ago)
WASHINGTON: In response to one of the most pressing human health crises of the 21st century, Rare Media has launched "Baby Steps": a multi-part series of original reporting on the opioid crisis' smallest victims - Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) babies born to drug dependent mothers.
Over three months, Rare visited some of the hardest hit communities to meet those whose lives have been touched by the nationwide opioid epidemic. This heartfelt series focuses on ways families and communities are pulling together to help their smallest and most helpless victims.
Facts on NAS and the national opioid epidemic:
•Every 25 minutes in the U.S., a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal - National Institutes of Health (NIH).
•Nationally, NAS increased nearly fivefold between 2000 and 2012 - NIH.
•There are only two NAS clinics in the U.S. - Brigid's Path and Lily's Place - both of which are run primarily on donations.
•First Lady Melania Trump visited Lily's Place in Fall of 2017.
•Babies going through medical withdrawal usually stay for 18 to 20 days at a cost of more than $90,000 (per baby, per stay) - Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
•The care offered at NAS clinics can shorten stays and reduce the cost of care to $10,000 to $15,000 (per baby, per stay) - Brigid's Path.
•In 2014, the state of Ohio spent more than $19.5 million helping NAS babies, 96 percent of which were Medicaid eligible (but received no funding) - ODH.
•In 2006, Ohio hospitals admitted 305 infants suffering from NAS for inpatient care. By 2015, there were 2,174 NAS admissions. That's six babies per day admitted to the hospital in withdrawal somewhere in the state - ODH.
Rare's Heartland Editor Gayle Putrich remarks: "It's striking how voiceless these babies are. I was touched by the quiet work going on at neonatal abstinence syndrome clinics like Lily's Place in Huntington, WV and Brigid's Path in Kettering, OH, and by all the individuals working to be that voice. They're breaking the often generational substance abuse cycle and working to lift up their communities one family at a time."
Primary themes covered within "Baby Steps" include: identifying opioid exposure in babies, the politics surrounding Medicaid funding, the financial costs to individuals and communities, the increase in opioid babies within the foster care system, and the strong sense of faith and hope amongst those dedicating themselves to caring for these babies.