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Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis launches new initiative to save mothers, unborn babies from opioid addiction

"It is no way for an innocent life to be brought into this world.” - Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis launched a new part of the Hope for Healing Initiative with UF Health to help mothers and their unborn babies who are addicted to opioids.

First Lady Desantis said the rarely mentioned victims of the opioid crisis are mothers and their unborn babies. According to the National Institutes of Health, every 15 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. First Lady Desantis is now working with expectant mothers who use the drugs to help them stop, protecting their lives and their babies. 

For the first time, the Health Department will have a state-wide prevention coordinator to help combat what's known as "neonatal abstinence syndrome." The role "will coordinate and enhance resources and services for pregnant women, mothers and newborns addicted to opioids," First Lady DeSantis said.

The CDC is also giving Florida a $58 million grant over the next three years to fight the opioid crisis. 

β€œIt is no way for an innocent life to be brought into this world,” DeSantis said. 

In the last four years, 6,000 babies were born with NAS in Florida. Duval County has one of the highest rates of NAS in the state.