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By Birdie Johnson

After watching the vlog about Illuminate Colorado, it sparked a fire inside me. I was born to a drug abusing mother. I suffered short term and had very little resources available for my dad in the urban community. I was an extremely fussy baby and that turned into me not communicating at all. I did not start talking until well after three years old. When my dad told me this I was baffled. I asked him why did he not get me help and replied he did not know it was not normal. So I have decided to share some information of babies born to substance abused mothers. Although short term symptoms can consist of mild fussiness, more severe findings may include acting irritable or jittery, feeding problems, and diarrhea. These babies may also suffer from tremors, sweating, dehydration and hypertonia. If a baby is born and substance abuse is suspected, a drug test can be conducted on the baby’s stool. There is differences on symptoms and treatment depending on the types of drugs that were used during pregnancy. When we think of drugs, yes this can be drugs such as heroin and meth but we must not also forget babies can become addicted to opioids. These drugs, plus more can impair growth and also alter brain development. Based on the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 194,000 pregnant women between the ages of 15 to 44 (8.5%) have used illicit drugs in the past month, including an estimated 161,000 who used marijuana, an estimated 32,000 who misused pain relievers, an estimated 12,000 who misused tranquilizers, and an estimated 8,000 who misused cocaine. An estimated 334,000 pregnant women between the ages of 15 to 44 (14.7%) have used tobacco in the past month, and an estimated 261,000 used alcohol in the past month. Babies born under substance abuse also face higher risks of SIDS. In some instances baby is prescribed medications (narcotics) to help deal with withdrawals. Babies who are suffering the after effects of drug abuse do better when limiting noises and lights. A lot of tender loving positive touch is encouraged. Just remember these babies need even more extra love patience and positive touch than other babies.