Editorial: New group praised for targeting moms dealing with addictive substances

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 11:48 PM

Women dealing with substance abuse during pregnancy risk not just their health but the health of their unborn babies. Yet the hold addiction has on its victims can be so strong that even the idea of doing harm to the baby can lose out in an addict’s internal battle.

LeConte Medical Center, in partnership with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Sevier County Health Department, as well as other area community agencies, is launching Moms on Meds (MOMs). The group will provide support to women who abuse substances during pregnancy.

MOMs will host a meeting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at First United Methodist Church in Sevierville. The event is open to anyone interested in learning about the organization. A task force, composed of individuals from each of the agencies, has been planning the organization for the last two years.

A 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that some 4 percent of pregnant women reported use of a harmful substance during pregnancy. Locally, one in 10 patients tested positive for drug use prior to labor and delivery that year, according to Dr. Jennifer Maddron, an obstetrician and gynecologist at LeConte. Maddron believes part of the reason this number is so high is the lack of local resources available to pregnant moms or others struggling with addiction. The new group seeks to combat the problem.

“Pregnancy offers a perfect opportunity to provide intervention not only to the mother, but also the unborn babies, and other families in the community that may be struggling with addiction,” Maddron said. “Our mission is to partner with others working on the problem of drug addiction to maximize our efforts.”

It’s easy to blame all this on the mother, but this is not the time for blame. The goal should be to clean up the mother so the baby is born with a fighting chance at good health and a loving home. Let’s support this group and encourage all at-risk moms to be part of it.