Number of Maryland babies born with drugs in their system grows
Amanda Ashley’s daughter trembled uncontrollably. Her scream rang through the intensive care unit — high-pitched and shrill. She was so agitated, no amount of rocking or cuddling could soothe her.
Her baby was suffering from symptoms of heroin and buprenorphine withdrawal, and Ashley — who had used drugs for nearly a decade, including during the pregnancy — was consumed with guilt watching her daughter’s tiny body detox.
“I was taking prenatal vitamins and shooting dope,” she said. “I wanted to stop, but I had no control psychologically and physically on how to do it.”
Hospitals throughout Maryland are dealing with a sharp increase in the number of babies born exposed to drugs as the opioid epidemic grows and ensnares the youngest victims while they’re still in the womb. These newborns suffer tremors, have trouble feeding and are not easily comforted — all signs of drug withdrawal.