AL: Alabama’s Opioid Crisis: London’s Story

ABC News –

London Mullaly’s family is working to help spread awareness of Neonatal Abstinance Syndrome. She was born addicted to heroin, meth, and street drugs.

We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of babies born with an addiction to opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports every 15 minutes an infant is born dependent on drugs.It’s a problem in every hospital across the country and here at home. Shelby, Chilton, Walker, Cullman, and Winston counties have the highest reported Neonatal Abstinance Syndrome cases — according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

We begin our new series “Alabama’s Opioid Crisis” with a Shelby County family whose adoption took a turn they never saw coming.

“ We had been trying to start a family for many many years,” Jay Mullaly, London’s Dad said. “Frankly, adoption was something that had a place in our hearts.”

April 7, 2017 — Jay and Jenny Mullaly got the call they’d been waiting for. They rushed to Baltimore and instead of a nurse bringing baby London to them — a social worker walked into the waiting room.

“This lady brings us in and is downbeat,” Mullaly said. “’You need to be aware of the birth mother’s condition’ – and we’re like scared out of our lives.”

“It’s the most wonderful thing in the whole world to hold this child of yours and my heart was just on fire and so was Jay’s and then you have that moment of – why is she hooked up to wires?” Jenny Mullaly, London’s Mom said.

The birth mother admitted to having “limited drug use,” but the Mullaly’s learned it was worse than they imagined. The baby – just hours old – is born addicted to heroin, meth and street drugs. She’s diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

“Your initial reaction to a child as a mom – you want to hold them, swing them, touch them, stroke them, and show gentleness to them and a baby going through those kinds of withdrawals that’s actually very irritating to them,” Jenny Mullaly said.

“She was fed through a feeding tube for the first couple weeks which was really hard – to feed your child their first bottle through their nose,” Jenny Mullaly said. “It was a tough thing to do.”

Nurses used morphine to replace the drugs in London’s system — helping her small body come off the withdrawals of heavy drug use.

Six weeks later — they brought her home.

“We get a call from a 334 number, so I know it’s Montgomery and this could be it,” Jay Mullaly said. “They say ‘Mr and Mrs Mullaly you can leave.’ It still gets me upset now. We pack the car in 30 seconds.”

“When we finally got home we literally got on our knees and said thank you to everyone who prayed for us, God for getting us through this,” Jenny Mullaly said. “In a few weeks we started noticing she didn’t have any of those symptoms.”

Her story now: a picture of hope. One 3-year-old London is still writing.

“It’s in our own backyards too,” Jay Mullaly said. “This is not a problem isolated to New York City or Baltimore. This is in Hoover, Alabama.”

The Mullaly’s message to adoptive parents of children with NAS — hold onto hope. Many, like London, go on to live normal, happy, healthy lives.

This weekend, they, along with thousands of people across our state will meet in Veterans Park in Hoover for the “End Heroin Bham” walk. It’s hosted by the Addiction Prevention Coalition — spreading awareness about the drug epidemic and aiming to provide resources to people who need it.

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