Opiate Task Force: Program to help addicted, pregnant women

Program to help addicted, pregnant women (WKRC)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (Perry Schaible) - There's a new beginning for mothers addicted to heroin.

The treatment is new and innovative and underway in Butler County. It's a combination of private, public, and government organizations with a common goal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Ohio was ranked second in the country for the highest number of overdose deaths. Butler County is seeing an uptick in the number of pregnant women in the jails and those seeking children services. So, leaders decided it was time to think outside the box. They've come up with a one-of-a-kind program.

Leslie Simpson is a much different person than she was even six months ago. Pregnant, drug addicted, and scared she became a client at Sojourner Recovery Services in Butler County.

Simpson said, "I went in with the mindset that this is not going to change anything and it changed everything."

Monday, Dec. 21, she's a new mom to 2-month-old Colton and was the first success story for a new pilot program called Butler County Motherhood and Maternity Addiction Services or MAMAS. The program was collaboration between several service programs in the county.

Scott Gehring of Sojourner Recovery Services said, "This really is an unprecedented level of collaboration. To bring existing services, repurpose existing dollars and really transform a program to better meet the needs of our community."

In the past services focused strictly on prevention and treatment. MAMAS fills traditional gaps for education, employment, housing, and child care. It acts as a life jacket for women who succeed in the treatment program, but may not have the outside support to survive the streets.

Simpson said, "We're encourage to become independent and don't rely on old people, places and don't go back to what we're used to. But when we're told there is no other place for us, we go back."

Simpson left residential treatment Dec. 1. Now she's staying with a sober friend near the facility, "A lot of the girls are not that fortunate. They don't have sober people in their lives that they can find an appropriate house for them to stay in, so, this is amazing. It's going to save so many women's lives, so many baby's lives."

That's exactly what this coalition is hoping to do. MAMAS is about completion and compliance and helping the ladies get to the next level of recovery by rebuilding their lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin and prescription pain pills took nearly 2,500 lives in Ohio in 2014. That equals eight deaths a day.

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