HOWARD COUNTY — As many as 1 in 7 babies born in Howard County are born exposed to drugs.
The staggering statistic is from a new report from the United Way of Howard County.
"They're not actually using the substances so a lot of times we forget to talk about the long-lasting effects that opioids have on their lives," Stacy Fackler, director of maternal and child health at Community Howard Regional, said. "It's easy to place blame. But as we know, you don't walk in their shoes. You don't know what they've been through. They didn't start out pregnant and decide I'm going to go shoot heroin today."
The opioid epidemic is a crisis that nearly 2,500 people were hospitalized for in Indiana and more than 1,500 people died from in 2016. Many times children, especially unborn children, are forgotten in the conversation.
Babies that are exposed to drugs in the womb are more agitated than those that are not because they are going through withdrawal. Experts said because 90 percent of the brain develops between birth and age 5, there are long-term health and well-being impacts including developmental delays, learning disabilities and emotional connection issues.
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