NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A lawsuit filed in August 2022 is now going before the federal court. The suit was filed on behalf of six Nashville children after they were born addicted to opioids.

Now, one of their lawyers claims more lawsuits could be coming.

The more than 150-page lawsuit names a list of opioid manufacturers and distributors. In it, the plaintiffs are listed as “Baby Doe” and “Baby Roe” in order to protect their identities. The children are now between the ages of 2 and 8 years old.

“It’s the first case we have done with only children that were born dependent on opioids,” said Tricia Herzfeld, partner at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings Lawfirm, representing the children and their guardians. “For the mothers, it’s a complicated and difficult story, right? They’ve been through a lot they’ve overcome addictions, some are still in the throws of addiction, and they’ve had to watch their children be raised with the impacts of the actions that they took.”

The lawsuit accuses a long list of distributors and pharmacies of running “pill mills” in Davidson County, after claiming each newborn was born dependent on opioids.

“They knew, essentially, that their drugs were going into the illegal drug market and continued to profit from that knowing where the drugs were going,” said Herzfeld.

The case was originally filed in August, but is now moving to federal court. In the suit, the babies are described as suffering from withdrawal, refusing to eat, and in some cases, crying uncontrollably.

“There have been thousands of children that have been born in Tennessee dependent on opioids, and we intend to file suit on as many as we can,” Herzfeld.

As part of the lawsuit, the firm cites the state in 2020 as having 824 babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). The condition is found in babies who are born to mothers addicted to opioids.

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“For many of these women, they started out in opioids from a car wreck or a prescription that they got after having surgery or whatever and it just got out of control and they needed to feed that habit because they were more addictive than anyone knew,” Herzfeld said.

It’s a reality that those at Renewal House see every day. Savak Millis, the Director of Programs, explained that oftentimes they take in mothers who have no idea what they’ve put into their bodies until it’s too late.

Millis described them as being, “Surprised — I think we think about substance use as a choice they are making every single day and here at Renewal House we really see it as a disease, and how can we counter that.”

Millis explained one of the biggest misconceptions about expecting mothers who are struggling with addiction is their appearance.

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Renewal House provides specialized addiction treatment to women and their children. They are the only “long-term family residential program in Middle Tennessee that treats women and their children together.” Since its inception, the organization has served more than 8,000 women and children through its programs.