Richmond hospital sees increase in opioid-addicted newborns

(WISH Photo, file)

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Statistics show a steep increase in the number of babies born addicted to opioids at Reid Health hospital in Richmond.

In the first four months of this year, 23 babies were born with an opioid addiction at the hospital. Thirteen such births occurred through the first seven months of last year before the number went up to 54 for all of 2015.

Last year’s total represents a 74 percent increase from the 31 opioid-addicted babies born at the hospital in 2014, the (Richmond) Palladium-Item reported. Before that, 11 were born in 2013, 15 in 2012, four in 2011 and one in 2010.

Lisa Suttle, the director of Reid Health hospital’s psychiatric service line, presented the statistics last Thursday at a Heroin is Here meeting, where attendants heard about several efforts to combat addiction in the community.

Suttle said Reid Health hospital officials plan to meet with Cross Road Christian Recovery Center for Women to establish a program for addicted mothers to receive treatment. She also said a pain management breakout group of Heroin is Here is looking for ways to treat patients’ pain without prescribing opiates.

Additionally, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office recently announced a diversion program that offers an opportunity for offenders, who are accused of drug possession offenses or shoplifting offenses driven by drug use, to voluntarily enter individualized treatment programs that, if completed, would result in the dismissal of the criminal charges.

The program will include an element of community service where the offenders will clean neighborhoods in an effort to find and dispose of dirty drug needles. A curfew element also could be added to the program, according to Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman.

Participants will be referred into the program by a criminal justice provider and their treatment programs will be covered by a program from the state’s Family and Social Services Administration, Recovery Works, if they don’t have private insurance.

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