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Newborn Drug Dependency Cases Tripled In A Decade In N.M.

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The number of babies born dependent on drugs in New Mexico more than tripled between 2008 and 2017 according to new data from the state Department of Health.

Annual reported cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome here grew steadily over that period to 330 last year.

Larry Leeman leads the University of New Mexico’s Milagro Program, which provides addiction treatment for pregnant women and moms with newborns. Options are scarce, Leeman said, and that’s part of the problem.


"I think that we need to focus on how to get access to services in smaller communities that may not have physicians, counselors that are comfortable in treating both pregnant mothers and babies," he said.

That might make a difference for places like Rio Arriba, Socorro, and Santa Fe Counties that have had consistently high rates of newborns with drug dependencies over the last few years.


Of New Mexico's reported cases, almost half were White babies and nearly a third were Hispanic babies.

Leeman says pregnant women or mothers with newborns who want help with recovery can call the Milagro Program at 505-463-8293.


Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. That same year, she established the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and received a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She join Colorado Public Radio in late 2019.
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