Opioid addiction: Pregnant women recover in Humboldt


September 5, 2017 — A Mother’s Love opioid addiction residency program for pregnant women will soon open at the Humboldt Medical Center. The program is the result of a partnership with West Tennessee Healthcare and Aspell Recovery Center.

“Addiction is a public health problem,” Aspell Recovery Center Executive Director Richard Barber said. “We can’t build enough jails, we can’t build enough prisons to treat what is a public health problem.”

According to research from the Sycamore Institute, the number of babies born with withdrawal symptoms due to their mothers’ use of opioids during pregnancy has rapidly increased in recent years. Neonatal abstinence syndrome cases have been on a steady rise from 177 in 2006 to 1,057 in 2016, the research shows.

“In recent years, Tennessee has adopted nearly all best practices by expanding the use of its controlled substance monitoring database, publishing prescribing guidelines, and regulating pain management clinics,” according to the Sycamore Institute.

While those efforts have decreased the amount of, and potency of, opioid prescriptions in Tennessee, there is still room for improvement in NAS cases — opioid-related hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise in Tennessee, the research said.

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