Illinois Group launches initiative to increase care for children born with opioid withdrawal

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) –  Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. Between 2011-2017, there was a 64% increase in infants with opioid withdrawal. Community health experts are concerned there will be an increase in these numbers after the pandemic. 

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois is a group of law enforcement leaders who work to prevent crime and violence. The group had an news conference today to discuss the importance of prioritizing children impacted by the opioid epidemic.

 

“Kids who grew up in homes with opioid addicted parents are more likely to face mental health struggles and suffer abuse,” said Robert Berlin, the State’s Attorney for DuPage County. “They’re more likely to face substance abuse themselves and to become involved with crime as they grow up.”

 

The state is set to receive over 750 million dollars in settlement money from national lawsuit against opioid producers. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois wants the state to dedicate their funding to kids.

 

“We strongly believe that more needs to be done to protect all the children affected by this epidemic,” said Dora Villarrea, the State’s Attorney for Rock Island County. “We welcome this opportunity to work with our state leaders in focusing additional resources into these programs where they can aid those most vulnerable among us.

 

J. Hanley, the State’s Attorney for Winnebago County, shared the story of his daughter, who he adopted. She was born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a form of opioid withdrawal. Henley said the experience has encouraged him to help other children born with the same condition.

 

“The best way we should spend that money is through early intervention,” said Hanley. “The research is very clear that whether it’s in the education context or the context we’re talking about here that the earlier intervention, the better.”

 

The group wants the funding to go towards home visits to pregnant mothers, where professionals can check in on their health and discuss the impacts of drug use while pregnant. They also want the state to focus on children born with opioid withdrawal.

 

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September 7, 2022 at 07:45PM

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