Grand Strand

Impact of opioid addiction on children

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) - Opioid addiction can rip families apart, and at times, the next generation is affected before they're even born.

"It started with a prescription, and I found out I wasn't feeling anything and I didn't want to feel anything. I wanted to feel numb and before you know it, I needed them and I lost everything," said Ashley Chandler.

Ashley then found herself pregnant.

"I was really excited, but my mind then was so far gone that I wasn't realizing the dilemma I was in," said Chandler.

Ashley and her baby both tested positive for opioids and she wound up in jail.

"Until then, I was just harming myself. [Now] someone else's life in harm, someone who I love more than anything in the world," said Chandler.

According to the CDC, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 25 minutes, and 14 to 22 percent of women filed an opioid prescription during pregnancy. The Chrysalis center in Florence helps women who are addicted and pregnant or parenting. They use the pill Subutex to treat pregnant women

"Its easier on the baby and there's less of a hospital stay with the use of Subutex," said Pamela Williams, medication assistant coordinator at Circle Park Behavior Health.

Since 2015, the number of children put in the foster care system in Horry County because of their parent's drug use tripled.

The earlier a mother can get treatment the better.

"It affects the way you parent. It affects every part of the family so getting treatment early can help that family maybe stay together or if that family already has DSS involvement maybe we can help them become reunified," said Williams.

It's not just babies affected, the Chrysalis Center also offers child counseling.

"It can affect their behavior, it can affect their learning, it can affect even their basic needs being met and when you grow up in a situation like that it can create a lot of trauma," said Williams.

Ashley worked with a recovery coach from FAVOR and lived in a halfway house for 9 months. She's now been sober for a year and a half and has her little girl back.

"I've come to find out there are other people who have the same problems, and I do have friends and that I'm not alone and I'm just trying to build up from where I've made mistakes," said Chandler.

Ashley just finished training to become a recovery coach herself.

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