Brown hopes to persuade the manufacturers of the prescription drugs fueling West Virginia's epidemic to fund her program, but she knows that's a long shot: She got her first rejection letter from a major pharmaceutical company last week.
Treating drug-exposed newborns outside a NICU is "a thinking-outside-the-box kind of thing," Brown says. Most are either treated in hospitals or missed entirely, sent home with mothers whose addictions go unnoticed.
But creative thinking is necessary "because our problem is worse than anywhere else," Brown says. "One in 13? Those numbers are crazy."
A study last year found that the number of U.S. babies born with signs of opiate drug withdrawal has tripled in a decade because of a surge in abuse of both legal and illegal narcotics. The problem is especially prevalent in West Virginia, Maine, Florida and parts of the Midwest.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was the first of its kind. Weaning babies off the drugs can take weeks or months, and the study found that the cost to hospitals more than tripled from $190 million in 2000 to $720 million in 2009.
Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., says the number of babies born in withdrawal there has increased tenfold over eight years. Two neonatologists there are testing acupuncture as a supplemental treatment, though they say it's too soon to report results.
Drennen, who once cared for babies in her home, says the drug scene has shifted in Washington state. The prescription epidemic trickled off as heroin became cheaper - about $10 per dose versus $80.
But she says there's no doubt it's cheaper to treat babies in a non-hospital setting: NICU treatment of drug-exposed babies costs $3,700 a day in Washington, while her facility costs the state health care agency just $13 a day.
And while the Legislature once funded her operation at 100 percent, Drennen says, it's now about 45 percent. The rest of her budget comes from donations, so she understands the fight her friends at Lily's Place face.
Brown says Lily's Place has a cooperative relationship with the state that will be critical to its success. Her education center will work with the state-run Birth to Three program, mental health agencies, church groups and others to heal damaged families.
Lily's Place will also have a diaper distribution center, so staff will see the babies regularly for their first few years. And there's a food pantry across the street to help families who are hungry.
Instead of worrying, Brown looks to Scripture for reassurance the money will come.
"God," she says, "takes care of the lilies of the field."