Federal Grant Helps Families with Drug Affected Children 

More than 800 drug affected babies are expected been born in Maine this year.

That’s what Governor Paul LePage said in his weekly radio address.

Now Mainers are reacting.

“We are eight times worse than the national average. We are 30 times worse than the best states in this regard in performance around this issue,” said Dr. Noah Nesin, the Chief Quality Officer at Penobscot Community Health Center.

It cost about $50,000 to help the drug affected children.

Nesin said, “That treatment consist of a very slow tiny methadone withdrawal in most circumstances and that takes several weeks.”

Long-term side effects could include developmental problems or learning disabilities.

“When they’re dependent on those medications then they’re withdrawn they suffer physical consequences. They have difficulty feeding, they may be jittery, they may be agitated and inconsolable,” said the doctor.

But the community is stepping up.

Families and Children Acting Together is currently working with a 5 year, $3.9 million grant to help these families.

“The grant is designed to improve permanency and well-being for children who are affected by substance abuse,” said Robin Hamilton, LCPC, CCS, Clinical Director for Families and Children Together.

Their focus is on the success stories.

Hamilton said, “You don’t hear as much from the people who have one through replacement therapy at a methadone clinic and they are having successful lives.”

Experts said the only way to decrease the number of these births, is to continue education and research.