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More babies are born addicted

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 Beckley (WVVA) It has been well-reported that the number of people addicted to prescription pain pills in Southern West Virginia is on the rise. But What happens when the women who are hooked, get pregnant?

According to Dr. Carlos Lucero at Raleigh General Hospital, the number of babies born addicted in Southern West Virginia is soaring. In the 1990's, he said staff at the hospital would see about five addicted babies a year. Now, he said they are seeing more than 5 a day. "We're going to have a significant number of citizens who cannot function normally on their on because of this."

Lucero attributes the rise to increased opiate use in the area. While the babies can be treated with Subutex and methadone while they're in the hospital, he said there is a whole new host of problems once the baby goes home -- ranging from child abuse to an increased risk of learning disability. 

"I really think it's important for moms to understand that when moms are told Subutex doesn't hurt there babies...while it's true that doesn't stunt their growth or cause a birth defect, those babies are born addicted," said Ellen King, Director of Women's Services at the hospital.

With more arriving everyday, King teaches her nurses to keep reaching. "Don't give up. It's like I always tell the nurses, keep asking them if they want help with their addiction, even if it's the tenth time that day...there's always hope, "says King.
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