BOSTON (CBS) – New Hampshire public officials call it an epidemic. Not the opioid addiction, but the number of babies born into it. So far this year, 120 babies were reported born after having been exposed to drugs in the womb. The total in 2015 was 504, up 27 percent from 2014, when there were 367.
“I don’t remember my pregnancy like most people do, because I was using the entire time,” explained Abi Lizotte, a recovered addict who gave birth to a baby boy in the throes of her addiction last year.
“He was very shaky, tense,” she says. “They ended up dosing him on morphine.”
Lizotte spoke to a class of Dover High School students Thursday. It was exactly seven years ago to the day, she took her very first opioid drug, which evolved into a heroin addiction.
Hospitals across the state are stressed by the growing need for neonatal drug addiction treatment. “I think we are significantly lacking in treatments while moms are pregnant, and then the follow-up care that we can provide these babies,” said Tena Ferenczhalmi, who works at Concord Hospital.
The staff there has incorporated homeopathic treatments like music therapy, to help bring down rapid heart rates in drug exposed infants.
“We’re really able to address so many of the newborn’s senses,” said Alice Kinsler, a therapist at Concord Hospital. She says aromatherapy and touch therapy also help, “especially against the onslaught that the withdrawal has perpetrated against their bodies.”
Abi Lizotte says the most important solution is simply talking, which is why she now visits schools to spread the word.With almost a year of recovery under her belt, it has made all the difference for her and her baby. “We need to keep talking about this because people are dying from this and we need help,” she says.