Struggles from the Start, Hope in the End
The youngest victims of West Virginia's opioid epidemic are born with a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Healthcare workers in the state are trying to reduce the high number of babies with NAS by helping moms with substance use disorder.
When Tina Williams was hired as a licensed social worker for the state’s Child Protective Services in 2001, she was juggling a caseload of about 20 displaced children. By 2008, her caseload soared into the 50s.
Twenty-five years ago, Michelle Peters became a mother for the first time. Now, Peters has become a full time caregiver all over again, among thousands of grandparents in West Virginia who have stepped in to raise children orphaned or abandoned by parents who struggle with addiction.