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Healthy Newborn House grand opening

COVINGTON, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- About half the babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Saint Elizabeth Hospital are born addicted to drugs.

Now there is a facility to help new mothers who are in recovery.  The 'Healthy Newborn House' opened a few months ago but got a major facelift with the help of "Leadership Northern Kentucky."

Once all the work is done the Healthy Newborn House will have room for 10 expectant moms or new mothers and their babies who are recovering from heroin addiction.  It's a growing problem.  In 2012 there were 1,400 babies in northern Kentucky treated for drug withdrawal. 

This facility will allow treatment providers to get some people off the waiting list for help.  For the last several months, Leadership Northern Kentucky has raised the money and done the work to add air conditioning, paint and clean up the Healthy Newborn House.

"The Leadership Northern Kentucky class really wanted to focus on the heroin epidemic and try to make a major change in the northern Kentucky community," said Liz Corbett.
Friday, the 2014 class joined community leaders to cut the ribbon on the Healthy Newborn House but it's actually been open since January and making a difference.

Transitions, Inc. supervisor, Lisa Strode, said, "This is a new home but so far we have three babies all born healthy.  Moms are healthy so far that's the success story."
A handful of women currently live there.  The ongoing work will make space for up to 10. The women are clean, sober and working a program through Transitions, Inc. to stay off heroin.

Executive director of Transitions, Inc., Mac MacArthur, said, "We have an overflow of women who are pregnant and addicted. This gives us more beds to make sure the babies are born with minimal addiction so they can come home straight from the hospital with mom."
The crowd was small but reflected heroin's huge influence in northern Kentucky.  City, county and state officials were there.  So were those who've lost loved ones to heroin.  Charlotte Wethington lost her son, Casey, to an overdose 12 years ago.  Casey's Law that allows courts to order involuntary treatment is named for him. She sees the ribbon cutting as an early Mother's Day gift to all moms.

"To have people talking about heroin and the disease of addiction honestly and openly is huge.  It's huge for me.  I've been waiting a long, long time for this," she said.

Leadership Northern Kentucky hopes to raise $50,000 to pay for all the work needed on the Healthy Newborn House.  They've raised $42,000 so far. 

If you're interested in helping them out CLICK HERE for more information.

Transitions, Inc. currently has 41bwomen and 12 children in its women's residential addictions program in Covington.  After three to four months of treatment some will move on to the Healthy Newborn House and make space for other women on the waiting list.

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