Thousands of newborn babies in the country experience neonatal abstinence syndrome. This syndrome means they were exposed to drugs during the prenatal period. They have withdrawal symptoms when they are born.
A Mesa couple experienced a devastating loss in their own family due to drugs. Jacob Robert Jones was three days old when Brian and Jo adopted him “We didn’t know anything about drug exposure for infants and he was born exposed to meth,” Jo said.
Jacob struggled with drugs throughout his childhood, and it led to devastating results. “Our son was the victim of a drug murder,” Brian said, “and that as parents sent us obviously into a tailspin… any parent that has lost a child, it’s an unimaginable sorrow.”
Jo later read a book about clinics for substance-exposed newborns. “It was so inspiring to me, because of our loss with Jake,” she said, “and wanting to help other children who were suffering like he did… and I thought this is what we need here in Arizona.”
Through the help of donors and volunteers, Brian and Jo are opening Jacob’s Hope, a care center for newborns born substance exposed. “They go through a period of time, where they’re suffering symptoms of withdrawals,” he said. “Two, four, six, eight weeks, depending on the drug,” she said. “These babies need calm, care, subdued lighting, they need to have one-on-one, they need touch, they need that love.”
The facility is licensed to care for 12 babies at once. “We’ll be able to work with 125 infants over the course of the year,” Brian said. Their mission is “to help with the drug crisis in Arizona with the smallest victims.”
Jo says prevention is key. “We miss our son terribly, we wish he was here,” she said. “We are dedicating this to him.”
Jacob’s Hope is licensed by the DHS. Those who want to volunteer at Jacob’s Hope must have a current TB test, a level one fingerprint card, and a flu shot.
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