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Babies born with withdrawal symptoms on the rise in Colorado, study shows

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COLORADO -

A government study is showing an alarming increase in newborns born with opioid withdrawal in the state of Colorado.

According to the Heroin Response Work Group, which is comprised of several government agencies like the DEA, the number of newborns born with opioid withdrawal spiked over 80% between 2010 and 2015.

Dr. Mary Laird, a Neonatologist with UCHealth Memorial Hospital says it's critical for expectant mothers struggling with an opioid addiction to have an open discussion with their doctor and get the care they need.

"Get early and regular prenatal care, " Dr. Laird said. "Be very honest about your use, medical or nonmedical, and to understand that your provider's goal is the healthiest outcome for your pregnancy and your baby."

Dr. Laird adds symptoms such as irritability, stomach aches and seizures can manifest themselves in babies born with opioid withdrawal within a few days of being born and to lessen their, these babies require a lot of quiet holding and a gentle environment.

Despite the challenge of raising a child born with addition, foster mom Gabrielle King continues to open her home to these children trying to lead normal lives.

King has taken in over eighteen babies born with withdrawal symptoms throughout her nine years as a foster parent - adopting three of these children and making them a part of her family forever.

But despite helping many babies struggling with these symptoms, she says their pain hasn't gotten any easier to witness.

"It is something that you'll never -- once you hear it you'll always know it. That bloodcurdling high-pitched, little piglet squeal is what we call it and it just is heartbreaking," King said. 

"It sounds like they're being beaten and there's nothing you can do - just hold them and rock them."

The full study on Heroin in Colorado can be viewed here.

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