Thus the need for a specialized treatment facility. At PICC, the nurseries are painted in muted pastel colors. Lighting is indirect and also muted. Sound is dampened.
That's deliberate - part of the therapy for drug-exposed newborns, since too much sensory stimulus is stressful.
The treatment regimen also calls for specific techniques for handling the baby, such as swaddling. For certain types of exposure, babies may need medicine such as morphine to help with withdrawal.
My wife and I are familiar with these concepts, and with the scenes from that video, having gone through the orientation shortly after meeting the six-week-old infant who was to become our foster child and then, officially and legally, our daughter.
That baby girl, now almost 4, is lively, funny, smart, inquisitive, a joy to our lives. She has hit all her developmental milestones and transitions, just as you would hope for.
Comparatively speaking, her exposure was mild and the medical effects minimal. She was, if such a term can be used in such circumstances, one of the lucky ones.
Withdrawal can be painful for the baby, dangerous if not properly monitored and treated. They may not need a neonatal intensive care unit, but they do need care, attention and the customized treatment that comes from experience in dealing with such tiny patients.
For those who do get that attention and treatment, the long-term medical prognosis is generally good.
During our state-mandated foster-parent training course, almost all the time and scare stories were reserved for fetal-alcohol syndrome. About the long-term effects of in-utero drug exposure, what we mostly got were shoulder shrugs of "we don't know."
(The long-range medical and societal impacts are even more complicated and uncertain now that the voters of Washington have voted to legalize the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.)
"How they turn out will have to do with their caregivers," Drennen said in an email interview.
"All children are born with their own individual makeup and may have had problems whether there were drugs in their system or not. We cannot blame everything on the drug exposure."
The scourge of drugs, the complexities and deficiencies of the foster-care and child-protection systems, and how to deal with parents who would put children in such painful and precarious condition are far bigger problems than facilities like PICC can solve, and far more than we should ask.
It's harrowing enough for those infants and the nation that there is even a need for PICC, Lily's Place and, if we're being honest about it, hundreds more like them.
But there is a need, and the doctors, nurses, volunteers and others feeding, soothing and treating those babies is one small but hugely vital way of keeping their brief and harrowing existence from turning into something even worse.
Virgin, a former Daily Mail business editor, is founder, editor and publisher of Washington Manufacturing Alert and Pacific Northwest Rail News, and a columnist for The News Tribune (Tacoma) and Seattle Business magazine. He can be reached at bill.vir...@yahoo.com.