Delaware was one of only two states in the country that did not have an inpatient treatment program for pregnant women and mothers. A partnership between addiction treatment provider Guadenzia and the Delaware Division of Addiction and Mental Health (DSAMH) will change all that in July.
It’s incredibly necessary, said Guadenzia chief of staff Dr. Pat McKernan, because Delaware has some of the highest rates in the nation for substance use disorders and overdoses.
“The Delaware Division of Forensic Science’s annual report showed that overdose deaths increased by more than 15% last year, in 2021, with more than 500 people in Delaware dying from overdoses. The “So the addiction epidemic is being felt very, very specifically in Delaware,” McKernan said. “What we do know is that women account for almost a third of these deaths, and that women are often reluctant to seek treatment because they have children and are afraid of being left without their children…so the ability to provide treatment wherever women can bring their children with them really removes a barrier that prevents people from seeking the help they need.”
On July 1, 2022, Mckernan said Guadenzia will open the doors to a “high-intensity residential treatment program” facility in Claymont that will serve 10 families. A second facility, offering transitional “low-intensity residential treatment,” opened Oct. 1, she said, with the goal of allowing women to begin substance abuse treatment while being offered a continuum of care for their children.
“The goal is to have pregnant women who have healthy babies,” she said. “We want to reduce instances of exposure to substances born in babies…We want healthy babies born to recovering mothers.”
DSAMH’s $3.2 million contract was made possible with the support of Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, State Senator Sarah McBride and State Representative Melissa Minor Brown, McKernan said. More statistics provided by Guadenzia on Monday in a statement announcing the arrival of the new treatment center included:
- 20% of pregnant/postpartum women in the Delaware Medicaid program have SUD and 10.6% of these women were opioid dependent.
- 70% of women entering treatment for SUD have children.
- 2,511 births of infants exposed to substances took place between 2015 and 2019.
- The average cost per hospital state for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome was $66,700.
- 1,022 Delaware children were placed in out-of-home custody due to their parents’ drug or alcohol use in 2019.