According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the number of babies dependent on opioids nearly doubled from 2010 to 2015.
Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo is one of many hospitals across Colorado seeing a big spike in babies dependent on drugs.
The hospital treated 32 infants in 2015 and saw 37 babies exposed to opiates in 2016. That’s up from just one or two a year before 2011.
Most of the drug-dependent babies the hospital sees are addicted to heroin. Nationwide, the number of newborns addicted to opioids is up 400 percent since 2000.
Health officials say cuddling helps the babies through some of the most difficult days as newborns.
“With cuddling, you get control of some of those minor symptoms of withdrawal and it’s actually seen as our first line of medical treatment,” said Camille Hodapp, a nurse practitioner at Parkview Medical Center.
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