Meet Baby Doe
Meet Baby Doe: The Face Behind the Case
Baby Doe is one of the tiniest victims of the opioid crisis.
Like thousands of children born in the U.S. every year, Baby Doe was diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) at birth, a condition which forced him to endure a painful start to life. NAS occurs when babies are exposed to opioids in utero and then show symptoms of withdrawal anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after birth. Baby Doe’s first days were spent in excruciating pain as doctors weaned his fragile body from opioid addiction. He cried excessively, arched his back, refused to feed and shook.
Baby Doe’s mother fell victim to an epidemic that has ravaged Tennessee, causing immense suffering, and costing local governments and communities forced to deal with the aftermath hundreds of thousands of dollars. Law enforcement has designated her home region as the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which further highlights the devastating impact of the epidemic on this area.
This secondary epidemic of NAS created by Tennesseans’ addiction to opioids increased tenfold between 2000 and 2010, according to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. In 2016, 26 of every 1,000 babies born in East Tennessee alone were diagnosed with NAS.
The opioid epidemic did not appear here or anywhere in America overnight. It is the result of a concerted effort among Purdue Pharma, L.P., Purdue Pharma, Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company, Mallinckrodt LLC, Endo Health Solutions, Inc, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., and other opioid manufacturers to mislead doctors and the public about the need for, and the addictive nature, of opioid drugs.
These manufacturers spent years engaged in a fraudulent scheme to push their wares into a market of unsuspecting doctors and patients, convincing them their products carried minimal risk. When it became clear that entire regions of the country were being devastated by addiction to these drugs, they turned a blind eye to the problems and collected millions of dollars in profits.
Baby Doe is an individual child, and is also a representative of a collective group. In one instance, Baby Doe is the child of a mother who was first given prescription opioids to help with joint pain. In another, his mother participated in the illegal trade of opioids. Just a few counties away, the mother’s history includes use of opioids prescribed after an automobile accident. Collectively and individually, their worlds are, as a result of the drug manufacturers’ fraudulent scheme, awash in opioids, fueling a dramatic increase in those exposed and addicted to oxycodone, hydrocodone, Percocet®, OxyContin®, Roxicodone®, Opana® ER and other opioids.