US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) spends his afternoon in Rockford, and heard first-hand from those who have dealt with the Stateline’s opioid crisis. Local physicians, the city’s mayor and many gathered at MercyHealth Hospital to discuss solutions to opioid addiction.
The opioid crisis claimed the lives of 122 people in Winnebago County last year, but at the round table discussion, a different population took up conversation. Not adult users, but newborns who are battling a opioid dependency and doctors say is an increasing issue.
MercyHealth Doctor Gillian Headly says the problem happens too often in MercyHealth’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Headly says babies are so jittery, newborns cant focus on eating because of their drug dependency. Sen. Durbin, urged health systems and agencies to take advantage of the $3 billion alloted for aid to the opioid crisis, that is in the new federal budget. Dr. Headly says federal money could solve their problem, by targeting moms-to- be, before it’s too late.
“Helping them to go through the process of pregnancy and start off with babies who have a better chance at not receiving more opiates than they need to and going home with their parents,” said Headly.
Other Doctors added a method to track prescribed medication, could help practitioners to decipher those who need the pain relief, as opposed to those who are looking for a fix. Sen. Durbin believes doctors are necessary to be apart of the conversation to battle the opioid crisis.