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Number of Colorado newborns addicted to opioids surges

By: The Associated Press
November 29, 2017 Updated: November 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm
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photo - COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 16: Rachel holds her newborn baby Isabella and lovingly rubs noses together after a feeding in the NICU at UCHealth Memorial Hospital November 16, 2017. Isabella was born November 02, 2017, at 34-weeks and six days with a mild case of neonatal abstinence syndrome because of her mother's recovery from an opioid addiction. Rachel, 30, was taking a synthetic opioid prescription during her pregnancy as she recovered from an addition to heroin. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - NOVEMBER 16: Rachel holds her newborn baby Isabella and lovingly rubs noses together after a feeding in the NICU at UCHealth Memorial Hospital November 16, 2017. Isabella was born November 02, 2017, at 34-weeks and six days with a mild case of neonatal abstinence syndrome because of her mother's recovery from an opioid addiction. Rachel, 30, was taking a synthetic opioid prescription during her pregnancy as she recovered from an addition to heroin. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post) 

The Colorado Health Department says the number of newborns in the state addicted to opioids jumped 83 percent from 2010 to 2015. The department says the state's rate climbed from two births out of 1,000 to 3.6 births in that five-year period.

The Denver Post reports the rate of newborns addicted to opioids skyrocketed at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, jumping from 0.7 per 1,000 in 2010 to 20.8 in 2012. The rate at Parkview now is around 10.

The increase in opioid-addicted babies in Colorado has resulted in hospitals, medical professionals and child-welfare departments working together. A Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee has helped pass a state law that stipulates pregnant women can tell their doctors about drug use without fear of criminal prosecution.

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