28 CURRENT | Meridian Health Services | Summer 2018 meridian tackles addiction current special report Privately located down a hallway of the Suzanne Gresham Center, Meridian’s Maternal Treatment Program (MTP) is a safe zone for mothers fighting addiction. They bring their children and their dreams, seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Meghan Wilson, a young mother and client of MTP has three sons, ages 12, 4, and 3 months. “There’s a lot of support here,” Wilson said. “You can bring your kids here. I come three days a week for three hours a day. It’s a positive environment and homey. I felt comfortable right away.” The Maternal Treatment Program opened June 1, 2017, following a successful Rialzo VIII that raised $150,000 to be used to increase awareness and provide services for mothers struggling with addiction and their newborns. This year, Rialzo IX raised additional funds dedicated to the development of the MTP initiative. Help hasn’t come too soon. Of the 1,300 deliveries at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie 2017, just over 20 percent were tested for drug W ith the decor of a newborn’s nursery and support from trained behavioral clinicians, Meridian Health Services Maternal Treatment Program, in just a year, has already set the stage to change lives and secure futures. Maternal Treatment Program supports both through addiction recovery & newborns addiction, and just over half of those tested positive for at least one substance. These newborns were affected by either the maternal use of drugs or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Indiana has twice the national rate of babies born addicted to opiates. In East Central Indiana, one in 10 babies is born with NAS. In 2018, there have been some protocol changes at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital. For example, all laboring women are given a drug test to ensure best treatment for mother and baby. NAS is most often caused by a mother taking opioids during pregnancy. It occurs when a baby is exposed to a drug in the womb before birth and goes through withdrawal from the drug after birth. NAS can cause serious problems for infants, such as having low birth weight, breathing problems and post-birth withdrawal from the drugs. Symptoms typically appear within one to three days after birth, but may take up to a week. Signs of NAS vary, but most opioid withdraw may present a distinctive, shrill cry, convulsions, seizures, and tremors. Of local babies tested for drugs after delivery, more than half test positive for at least one substance. MERIDIAN’S MTP. The Maternal Treatment Program increases awareness and provides services for mothers struggling with addiction and their newborns.