‘Cuddlers’ Help Heroin Addicted Babies

The heroin epidemic in our country is so out of control that it is impacting the lives of newborn babies who were subjected to the drug's harmful effects before birth. Hospitals are now looking for cuddlers to help these babies through their withdrawals.
Nina Fenton
Published on

Can you think of a day recently when you haven’t read or heard a story about someone, somewhere becoming addicted to heroin? Nope, me either. That’s because our country has a very real and very dangerous heroin epidemic that is taking over the lives of the so many from older adults to newborn babies.

Yes, that’s right. I said newborn babies. Unfortunately, the draw of heroin is even too much for some expectant mothers to ignore as more and more are delivering babies severely addicted to the drug and having to suffer through taxing withdrawals that are far too much for their little bodies to endure.

These heroin addicted newborns are forced to spend days, weeks and even months in hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) while the drugs work through their little bodies. This often means that there is little to no skin to skin contact for them, which can be the difference between life and death for these innocent victims of circumstance.

In an attempt to ease the suffering and aid in the recovery of babies going through withdrawals, medical facilities with NICU’s, like Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, are giving newborns in need a helpful dose of cuddling. The hospital brings in volunteers as often as possible to cuddle and hold babies addicted to heroin as much as possible.

Volunteers, Ted Rohling and Donna Mullins, spoke to Cincinnati;s WLWT 5 about their experience cuddling newborns addicted to heroin recently.

Rohling said, “They come into this world at a big disadvantage and I just want to help them out.”

“They don’t have the nervous systems yet to settle themselves. And sometimes the only time they sleep is when they are in someone’s arms and you can rock them,” added Mullins.

Ohio has seen a significant increase in the amount of babies being born addicted and facing the daunting experience of going through withdrawals, according to Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital manager, Carmen Bowling. She’s witnessed the benefits of these snuggle sessions first hand during her time with the hospital.

She said, “If the mom has been a drug user for a long time, the babies require almost 24-hour holding because they are inconsolable.”

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

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