How One Florida Foster Family Helps Care for an Opiod Baby

When one baby came into this world hooked on drugs, it was something foster mom Karen Scott was prepared to handle.

A Florida Gulf Coast University professor studied a method for weaning babies off opioids now recommended by the National Institutes of Health, and a local foster mom has detoxed more than one addicted baby using the method.

When one baby came into this world hooked on drugs, it was something foster mom Karen Scott has managed previously.

"They go through withdrawal, they cry a lot. They're uncomfortable. They have fevers, they have a lot of diarrhea,” Scott told WINK.

The Scott family nurtured him with lots of love and support.

"We swaddled him. Swaddling is the best technique for an addicted baby that there is,” Scott said.

Dr. Rosemary Higgins is a researcher with FGSU and also a neonatalogist who works with sick and premature babies.

Dr. Higgins was part of a national study that may change the course of treating opioid-addicted babies. In the past, it was common to dose them with medications,

"Most hospitals had a number at which they would either start treatment with an opioid substitute for the baby. So for instance, morphine sometimes is used and other drugs are also commonly used. And then the baby was slowly weaned off of that,” Dr. Higgins told WINK.

Dr. Higgins's study group looked at a method called ESC, which stands for Eat, Sleep, Console, as another method of helping the babies.

"It's non pharmacology, it's non drug, whereby you console the baby, allow them to feed, allow them to sleep spontaneously on their own,” Dr. Higgins said.

The study found babies who went through the standard dosing method stayed in the hospital longer.

"They went home on an average of 14.9 days, so about two-plus weeks a little bit over. And the intervention group, or the Eat Sleep Console group went home after seven to eight days, which was a huge improvement,” Dr. Higgins said.

WINK then went back to the Scott family to see how the baby they are fostering is doing. Now, at two months old, all signs of addiction are gone.

"He is so, so happy and surrounded with, you know, a dozen kids that love him just as much as we do,” Scott said.

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