Top minds meet to solve crisis of babies born addicted | News
Tallahassee, Florida -- Some of Florida's top medical minds meet Tuesday to take on a disturbing problem: babies born addicted to painkillers.
The babies go through terrifying and sometimes violent withdrawal symptoms because their moms kept using drugs while they were pregnant.
Here at 10 News, we've been working to get this issue more attention. Anchor Reginald Roundtree put together "Born Addicted," an eye-opening special story that helped drive the statewide conversation on the issue.
A major step forward begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Attorney General Pam Bondi has called together an impressive task force to work on solving this crisis.
At the table in Tallahassee will be the state surgeon general, the head of the FDLE, the head of the Department of Children and Families, doctors, nurses, and folks from nonprofit groups that help young kids.
Bondi says she was hit with the scope of the problem when she visited the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital here in her hometown of Tampa.
Last year, more than 40 babies spent an agonizing time in that unit in withdrawal from prescription pain medication. At Spring Hill Regional Hospital, the number was near 100.
Babies scream, twitch and vomit. They have trouble breathing and eating. They rub their noses with their fists so frantically, their skin bleeds.
The CDC calls prescription drug abuse the nation's fastest-growing drug problem.
The state says the number of babies born addicted because of their moms' drug use has skyrocketed in Florida, from 354 cases in 2006 to 1,374 five years later.