‘Number 1 in our region’ – Michelle Lynch, CC Health Department

In recent years, Campbell County has shot to third in the nation in terms of people addicted to opioids.

Campbell County also has another distinct statistic – in the last five years the number of infants born dependent on opioids has increased 46 percent, according to information provided by the Campbell County Health Department.

“We are number one in our region of 15 counties” when  it comes  to children born dependent on the pain killers, Michelle Lynch, a nurse at the Campbell County Health Department said.

In an effort to combat children born with the dependency, the local health department has instituted a program that addresses what opioids does to infants.

Lynch, Amanda Walden, RN, and Kelly Norman, a public health representative for the health department, visit the county jail offering drug education to female inmates.

In the program, the female inmates are provided information about the effects of narcotics on their unborn children and are offered long acting birth control free of charge. In the last two years, 60 women have requested the birth control, the information revealed.

The average cost of an arm implant or IUD can cost up to $1,300 without insurance, according to Planned Parenthood. Health departments provide them free of charge.

The health departments also offer a free vasectomy program for men as well.

For a children born dependent on opioids, a hospital stay can last up to 17 days and cost over $66,000, Lynch said. However, once the child is weaned from the opioids, with the use of morphine, a lifetime of problems can follow such as tremors, developmental delays and seizures. And those are the problems documented to date. Because it’s an emerging health problem, there is no long term data on children born opioid dependent.

What is known is that it is a “100 percent preventable” problem, Lynch said.

In an effort to educate the public about opioid dependent babies, Camelot has partnered with the Campbell County Health Department to offer a workshop. Lynch, Walden and Norman will present a class on Monday, April 30 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. The class will be held at the Camelot office at 140 Indian Mound Circle, Jacksboro. To RSVP for the event, call 865.272.0364. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 04/24/2018-6AM)