News Headlines Article

To Help Newborns Dependent On Opioids, Hospitals Rethink Mom’s Role
National Public Radio

Carolyn Rossi has been a registered nurse for 27 years, and she’s been fiercely protective of infants in her intensive care unit — babies born too soon, babies born with physical and cognitive abnormalities and, increasingly, babies born dependent on opioids.

As clinical manager of the nurseries at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Rossi works in the neonatal intensive care unit. Like many hospitals across the country, the facility near Hartford has seen a dramatic rise in recent years in the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that more than 21,000 infants born in the U.S. in 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available) experienced symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The hospital says each such baby in its care costs roughly $50,000 to treat.