A rough start

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Ann Marie Ames
Thursday, January 5, 2012

My job involves a lot of learning about other people's jobs. Often, I think, "I don't know how they do it."

That's what I was thinking this afternoon when I got off the phone with Elizabeth Goetz, a doctor who works in Madison with newborn babies. Among other medical issues, she sees many babies born addicted to opiates including oxycontin, methadone or heroin.

The withdrawals start about 48 hours after birth and can last a few days. Treatment options vary. On the mild end, they include swaddling the baby tightly and keeping him or her in a quiet, dark room. On the other end, some babies need morphine treatment to ease the pain of withdrawal.

Many babies are born addicted to tobacco or other substances in addition to opiates.

I know personally how miserable tobacco withdrawal can be. I can't imagine how rough it must be for those little ones to have to detox from one or more substances.

We are always looking for ways to illustrate the effects heroin has in our community. I welcome your suggestions, even though they are likely to be sad. It's an important subject.

Last updated: 10:06 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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