Scottsdale Recovery Center

Colorado hospital seeking volunteers to cuddle opioid-addicted babies

Colorado hospital seeking volunteers to cuddle opioid-addicted babies.

Staff at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado is in need of volunteers to help soothe infants that are born addicted to heroin and other opioids.

Research published last year reported rates of infant opioid withdrawal, has increased fivefold nationwide in the last 10 years.

According to nurse Paulette Mapes, St. Mary-Corwin sometimes has up to six babies at a time going through withdrawal.

“It’s rare that we do not have at least one baby in our nursery withdrawing from heroin, Mapes said. “They have a hard time. They have a hard time even when they’re being cuddled and held.”

These babies experiencing opioid withdrawal are usually extra fussy and distressed. Treatment for them includes calming techniques like swaddling.

This is where the volunteer work begins.

“Our hope is to have a 24/7, 365 availability (of on-call volunteers) so if this baby’s having a rough time, we can have someone who can love on the baby,” Mapes said.

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