Born addicted: Louisiana’s Rate of Newborns Dependent on Opioids is Rising

May 2018

Six hours after Kemper Roach was born, it grew clear something was wrong.

Jitters took over his 6-pound body. Wails rose from his throat. Nothing could comfort him.
“It got horrific,” his father remembered.

It was the addiction taking hold. Less than a day old, Kemper was suffering from opioid withdrawal.
Doctors at Slidell Memorial Hospital diagnosed him with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which happens when babies are exposed to drugs in the womb and are dependent on them after they are born. They wrote in medical records that he was jittery and fussy, and had an elevated temperature and loose bowel movements.

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Issue: 11 Volume: 9

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