Born addicted

Opinion: Editorials

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West Suburban Hospital, in conjunction with the non-profit PCC Community Wellness program, has begun an initiative to provide support for women — pregnant and drug-exposed — and their babies.

The concept is simple and powerful. Instead of immediately separating the new mom and her child, this effort keeps the pair together, at first in the hospital, to allow both bonding and, critically, time for withdrawal for the infant. That is a painful process to watch.

We know this is a complex issue, and one on the rise as the scourge of opioids spreads. In our coverage last week, we reported a number mined by Crain's Chicago Business from the Illinois Department of Public Health indicating that in 2016 nearly 3 of every 100,000 Illinois newborns faced withdrawal. Step back. Think about that. It is a stunning number.

We support this effort but we have questions, too. The ability to actively follow that new mom through a credible intervention to get them off the narcotics is challenging and essential. Ensuring, as best possible, the care of the child must be the priority.

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