News‎ > ‎

In Vermont, a network of help for opiate-addicted mothers

posted Feb 2, 2014, 10:53 AM by Victor   [ updated Feb 2, 2014, 10:54 AM ]
February 2, 2014

Below is a recent article from KTEP El Paso about the state of care for opiate-addicted mothers in Vermont. In his 2014 State of the State address, Governor of Vermont Peter Shumlin remarked that Vermont is experiencing a "full-blown heroin crisis." With the number of babies being born to opiate-addicted mothers rising, treatment must be improved and made more accessible for these mothers and their babies throughout Vermont.
In Vermont, A Network Of Help For Opiate-Addicted Mothers
KTEP El Paso - January 29, 2014


It came as a surprise to many people when Vermont's governor recently devoted his entire 2014 State of the State address to what he called a "full-blown heroin crisis."

While it may not fit Vermont's bucolic image, the state's addiction problem has long been acknowledged. And as the state has expanded treatment, it's also been coming to grips with one of the most difficult and emotional aspects of the issue: addicted mothers.

Between 2005 and 2010, the number of babies with symptoms of opioid exposure tripled. Now treatment programs in Vermont, which were once meager and disjointed, are more numerous and accessible.

Bringing Help Together

As she swaddles her healthy day-old baby at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, a young Vermont mother – who wants to remain anonymous because she comes from a small town — is more relieved than most. Not long before she became pregnant she hurt her back. A friend gave her some prescription painkillers.

"It didn't take long to go from 'This is all right to take sometime' to 'I've got to do it every day,' and I'm puking and having withdrawal symptoms if I'm not doing it," she says.

Most pregnant Vermont women addicted to opioids seek treatment. This mother was one of the first to go to a new Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic that reflects a shift in how mothers like her are being cared for. From a location in a renovated mill, the clinic offers treatment, group counseling and psychiatric services and works in partnership with doctors at the hospital. Before the clinic opened, those services were scattered, uncoordinated and often hard to access.

Continue reading at KTEP El Paso...