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Bill Creates Pilot To Help Treat Fla. Babies Born Addicted To Drugs While In The Womb

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MGN Online

Florida lawmakers are trying to establish a pilot program to help newborns exposed to addictive drugs while in their mother’s womb.

A baby with what’s called “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” could be addicted to opiate drugs, like heroin and oxycodone. When they’re born, these so-called “NAS” babies can go through withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, vomiting, and excessive crying. Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) has a bill to create a program specifically licensing health care facilities to treat these babies in a home-like environment.

“So, the babies could get care. Volunteers could come in and help with that care, along with the nurses,” she said. “And, the parents would come to the facility, and also have the wrap-around services that the hospital doesn’t really have the facility to provide. So, they can get the kids started in Healthy Start, and parents into parenting. And, the best part about this bill is it also provides for a college or university to do a study to monitor the progress of these babies as they grow, and mature because we do not know the effects of opiates on these babies over the years. And, I think that we’re going to find that over time, there are going to be some serious side effects.”

Under her bill, the program would start as a two year pilot in eight Southwest Florida counties. But, Passidomo says her hope is to expand it throughout the state.

While her bill has two more stops to go before heading to the Senate floor, its House companion has not yet had a hearing.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.