KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--More babies are born addicted to drugs in East Tennessee than ever before. Lawmakers are talking about solutions to solve the problem. More than 30% of babies born at East Tennessee Children's Hospital are addicted to drugs. One of the ways our lawmakers hope to stop that is to make it a crime for mothers to take drugs while pregnant. And that's not all they're doing.
These are babies born into this world addicted to drugs. The treatment is morphine. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Carla Saunders says, "It's exhausting. It's so difficult to see babies coming in in greater and greater numbers."
Children's hospital thought its new center with 16 beds would be enough room for babies suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Saunders says, "Since the day we opened we haven't had an empty bed down here. I've had as many as 19 more babies waiting upstairs for a bed down here."
Lawmakers are trying to come up with solutions to the growing pill problem. State Representative Bill Dunn says, "It's at forefront of legislative agenda and will be again this year."
Last year the prescription safety act came through limiting pill mills, but the law needs tweaking. Like limiting the number of pills prescribed at once and keep money orders from being accepted.
Mayor Madeline Rogero says, "We need to be in sync and know what the problem is and work together for the solutions."
For Representative Dunn there's one simple solution. State Representative Bill Dunn says, "The main thing people need to do is not get hooked the first place and that would solve a whole lot of problems."