Rates of newborn withdrawal spike statewide; LGH sees number triple in 5 years

Area hospitals are seeing a sharp rise in newborns struggling with withdrawal from heroin or prescription painkillers.

At Lancaster General Hospital, at any given time, there are two to four babies with what’s called neonatal abstinence syndrome. The hospital’s Dr. Christine Stabler estimates that the incidence has tripled in the past five years.

At WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, 4 percent of babies born had the syndrome in 2014. Last year the incidence rose to 6 percent, and so far this year it has jumped to 9 percent.

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