WAFB - Doctors at Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge have long witnessed the rise of a frightening epidemic: babies born addicted to heroin or other drugs, collateral damage of the growing opioid crisis.
The babies are exposed to drugs in the womb when mothers use. At birth, they're thrown into a brutal withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. The symptoms include seizures, tremors, vomiting, and more. Treatment depends on the severity of the case and sometimes requires morphine to wean the newborn's addiction. Baton Rouge neonatologist, Dr. Steven Spedale, says his biggest concern with NAS is the unknown long-term effects on patients.