RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The heroin crisis is spreading rapidly on Long Island with hundreds of babies being born addicted to the deadly drug.
Now, lawmakers say there’s a shortage of treatment centers to help these newborns and their moms.READ MORE: 1,000 Cresskill Students Still Learning Remotely Months After Ida Destroyed School
Christine, who doesn’t want to use her real name, said she’s thankful she can once again kiss her two young boys as they nap, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported.
Ten months ago, the Suffolk County woman’s life fell apart when she became hopelessly addicted to heroin.
“I lost custody of my kids, my car, my apartment,” she said.
Kim Dee, of Ronkonkoma, can once again play with her energetic 2-year-old daughter Mackenzie — something that wasn’t possible when she was in a heroin fog, and before she sought treatment.
“Seventeen months later, I’m clean, I’m being a mother,” she said.
Suffolk lawmakers say they’re alarmed by new statistics showing that last year, 171 babies were born addicted to drugs in the county as well as 53 in Nassau County.
“The number of babies born in Suffolk addicted to drugs has doubled in the past six years,” said Duwayne Gregory, presiding officer with the Suffolk County Legislature.
Specialists say the effects can be seen in newborns.READ MORE: Caroline Simmons Officially Sworn In As Stamford Mayor
“A lot of people don’t realize the fetus becomes addicted to heroin during the pregnancy. When the baby is born, they experience withdrawal symptoms,” said Warren Zysman, with ACI Rehab.
It’s a medical fact that worries Christine.
“I know my children are at risk, they have it in their genes,” she said.
Right now, there are only two residential homes in Suffolk where new moms can live with their children while they get treatment, Rapoport reported.
Kim Dee considers herself lucky to have been accepted in as she works on being a good mother.
“I want to see her graduate. I want to see her at a wedding. I want to do all that, it’s not going to be possible if I don’t stay clean,” she said.
“It’s sad, you don’t know what you’re getting into until it’s too late, really,” said Christine.
Both Kim and Christine said they still have hopes, including going to college and starting careers.MORE NEWS: Suffolk County Passes Police Reforms, Including Widespread Use Of Body Cameras For Over Half Of 2,400-Member Force
Suffolk lawmakers say they’re reaching out to Nassau lawmakers with the hope of creating one team that can help heroin-addicted mothers.