It took three months to find Jamie Clay, the young, raven-haired addict at the center of my front-page article on the opioid-dependent babies of rural Kentucky.
First, I called hospital associations in states like Tennessee and Kentucky, where large numbers of opioid-dependent babies are born, to try to find rural hospitals that would be open to having a reporter visit.
Some hospitals never returned my calls and emails. Others wrote back to say they weren’t interested. A few were. I tracked down physicians and nurses who care for babies born dependent on opioids; I asked each if they had patients I could interview: mothers-to-be who were hooked on opioids or being treated for addiction who were willing to talk to me. Nobody would.