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Huntington medical professionals are fighting for the health of drug-exposed babies

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Drug exposed babies are the tiniest victims of drug abuse. Sara Murray is a nurse at Cabell Huntington Hospital who cares for the fragile babies every day.

"They sweat profusely, they cry, they have a lot of tremors, and the gastrointestinal issues, they have explosive diarrhea," said Murray.

People sometimes refer to them as "babies born addicted to drugs", but hospital staff members see them differently. Instead, they refer to them as being exposed; showing signs of withdrawal, because the word "addiction" implies the babies had a choice.

Symptoms can last up to six months. It is a heartbreaking problem that seems to be getting worse.

"We are never ever not full," said Murray.

Doctor Sean Loudin said more babies are being born in our area who have been exposed to addictive drugs in the womb.  During my visit, 30 babies were undergoing treatment. There is a waiting list.

"Our rates are at least 50 times worse than the national average," said Dr. Loudin.

Medical staff members said a major part of their job is educating the mothers of these babies.

"A lot of these women grow up knowing substance abuse," said Dr. Loudin.

"We treat these mothers just like we treat our daughters, we respect them and we want to help them, we want to help them be good mothers," said Murray.

Medical staff at the hospital said caring for these babies can be very difficult, but making sure they get the best start possible makes it worth it. Nurses like Murray work tirelessly for those who can't speak up.

"Recently, the babies didn't have a voice, and we feel like we have given them a voice," said Murray.

Staff members tell me they want to spread the word in the community about choices that impact our youth.

"I think that's the beginning steps to making a dent in our current situation," said Dr. Loudin.

Murray said the medical team at Cabell Huntington Hospital will continue to fight for the health of the babies who are too young to fight for themselves.