According to the Health and Human Services Commission, more babies are born hooked on drugs in Bexar County than all the other counties in Texas. The commission only tracks babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome that are delivered through Medicaid funds, so officials fear that the statistics may be even higher than the number they've collected.
The San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SACADA) has received federal funding to address the issue. SACADA CEO Abigail Moore says that babies exposed to drugs in the womb face major health risks.
"These babies are often premature. They're withdrawing from these drugs and so it takes several weeks and lots of care for babies to go through with that withdrawal process," she said. "And then there may be delays, whether there are development delays, physical delays.”
She added that the increase of heroin and opioid use across Bexar County and Texas correlates to the rise of NAS rates in babies.
"Many times, women that are of bearing age to have children are participating in risky behavior; unprotected sex, many times they may not be on birth control, maybe they aren't having regular menstrual periods. So it may be four, five months later that they even know that they are pregnant," she said.
Recovery coaches from SACADA are tackling this problem in three stages: prevention, intervention, and treatment and recovery.