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"Meet New York City's Smallest Victim in the Opioid Epidemic" - Anna Harstedt

  • Metro
  • New York, NY
  • (November 12, 2018)

A nurse wraps a 4-week-old baby girl in a swaddling cloth, trying to comfort her as her tiny feet shake. Her little hands clench as she’s gasping for air. She is one of more than 130,000 children born in the United States in the last decade hooked on drugs, a dependency inherited from a mother battling addiction. This infant is suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which occurs when a pregnant woman takes addictive drugs during pregnancy. Jennifer Bragg, MD, neonatologist and director at the Mount Sinai NICU Follow-Up Clinic, has been working with infants suffering from NAS in New York. Dr. Bragg explains that this is one of her more severe cases—a mother addicted to both heroin and tobacco. In the baby’s first month of life, she’s experienced withdrawals, making her tremble, wail, and sometimes gasp for air. Children with NAS may experience developmental delays or attention problems later in life. Dr. Bragg believes that babies born with NAS are a major societal issue and that it's her job as a doctor to give these babies and their families support.

— Jennifer Bragg, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Newborn Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Mount Sinai NICU Follow-Up Clinic

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