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Hope for Moms

Program offers help to new, expectant mothers fighting drug addiction

Hope for Moms is a new program designed to help addicted mothers who may be pregnant, or those with young children, the chance at sobriety to help them keep their children.

Starting for the first time earlier this week, the program is hosted by the Jessamine County Health Department and is held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings at the R.J. Corman ER/Ambulatory Care Center located at 1250 Keene Road. Restricted to expectant and new mothers with addiction, the program will offer narcotics anonymous classes,  peer support, prenatal courses and parenting classes.

With Kentucky ranking as the third highest incident of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (post-natal drug withdrawal) in the nation, incident rates have increased over 15 fold between 2000 to 2013.

“Over the past few years I have been troubled by the number of children who are placed in foster care due to their mother’s uncontrolled drug addiction,” Rob Revellete of the Jessamine County Health Department said. “The stress of drug addiction is exacerbated by pregnancy or the additional energy required to care for a newborn.”

After hearing about the PATHways program offered through the University of Kentucky, Revellete enlisted the help of the Director of the Jessamine County Health Department, Randy Gooch, and went to work assembling a team in the county whose mission is to provide support for mothers struggling with addiction.

“Drug addiction puts a huge burden on the community,” Revellete said. “Children born to mothers with uncontrolled addiction require added community resources ranging from the court system and child protective services to the overburdened foster care providers.  Our goal is to make sure that expectant and new mothers are able to stay clean and provide a safe and nurturing home for their babies.”

Gooch said after the recent Community Health Assesment, substance misuse remains the number one health issue in the community and impacts every sector without regard to race, gender, education, employment or social class.

“Often overlooked are the unborn children of pregnant women who struggle with drug misuse,” Gooch said. “These children are at risk for being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which is a postnatal drug withdrawal due to their prenatal exposure to opioids.”

Gooch said NAS causes symptoms such as tremors, seizures, high pitched crying, feeding difficulties and temperature instability. Gooch said through Revellete’s experience he has identified a need for support which is currently lacking in the community.

“We’re blessed with community members like Dr. Revelette and organizations like Kentucky One Health who see a need and step up to find a solution,” Gooch said. “He has certainly been the driving force toward getting the Hope for Moms support group formed so we applaud his diligent and passionate effort for this cause.  Our ASAP Board and Healthy & Safe Communities Coalition Substance Abuse workgroup continues to work diligently on community-based prevention, intervention and treatment efforts with community partners.  We encourage anyone who has a passion for working to make a difference in our community’s most significant health issue to join us.”