Victims often overlooked in South Carolina’s ongoing opioid overdose crisis are babies born to addicted mothers.
Children’s Trust of South Carolina Executive Officer Sue Williams said there is an effort underway to address the issue. She said a consistent issue is that the infants are frequently born underweight.
“The Birth Outcome Initiative meets monthly talking about how we can reduce low birthweight babies,” Williams told South Carolina Radio Network. “Because we know when babies are born at low birth weight or very low birth weight they start out behind.”
Williams said that a low birthweight baby is behind the curve when born. “And it takes a lot to get them up to speed. There are a lot of things that feed into that.”
Infants born to women addicted to the narcotic can often suffer withdrawal symptoms themselves, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. The state Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs said roughly 5 out of every 1,000 newborns in South Carolina suffer from NAS, although they believe the rate is actually higher due to unreported cases.
Children’s Trust is a statewide agency that works to improve the well-being of children.
The organization also conducts research and evaluation that can lead to a deeper understanding of what they need to do for children’s well-being.