According to a recent Post-Gazette investigation, roughly 1 in 10 babies born to mothers from the rural southwest corner of Pennsylvania is exposed to drugs during gestation. It’s a shocking statistic that shows how despair is being passed down through the generations, literally in the blood that is shared between mother and child.

But we could only know this because most moms from Greene and Fayette counties give birth in Morgantown, West Virginia. (The last obstetrics unit in those counties, at Uniontown Hospital, was shuttered in 2019.) Pennsylvania hospitals don’t test for, and the Department of Health doesn’t track, neonatal drug exposure — but West Virginia does.

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