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STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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Health

The rate of babies in Michigan born to drug-addicted moms is increasing. What needs to change?

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UPDATED: 4/26/16 at 2:37 pm

Inconsolable crying. Difficulty feeding. Tremors. Tight muscle tone. Fever. Diarrhea.

These are among the miseries a newborn with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) may experience.

NAS describes the withdrawal process newborns endure after being exposed in the womb to opioids, like heroin, morphine, and oxycodone.

And as more babies are being born to drug-addicted mothers, the number of babies being treated for NAS is increasing.

In 2004, seven in 1,000 babies in the U.S. admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were born addicted to drugs. In 2013, that number jumped to 27 per 1,000.

And in Michigan, 404 infants were treated for NAS in 2010. By 2014, the number had more than doubled, to 815.

A new video aims to curb the rate of NAS in northern Michigan by helping educate the public of the risks of opioid dependency during pregnancy, encouraging moms who are addicted to drugs to get the help they need, and improving the coordination of care between state government, the community and law enforcement.

"Secrets Not Stories," was conceived by John Keller, director of Alpena/Montmorency Department of Health and Human Services, and Thomas J. LaCross, Alpena County probate court judge.

You can watch the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8E8i-xe1jE

Want to know more?

You can further explore this topic by checking out NPR's special series, "Treating the Tiniest Opioid Patients," here.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the producers of the video. It was produced by CML Marketing Communications and Jacqueline Southby Photography, both of Traverse City.