A program to help opioid-addicted mothers, The Tides, recently signed another contract with New Hanover County for this fiscal year.
The nonprofit provides an intensive, outpatient opioid treatment program for pregnant women and new moms and launched last year. At that time, county commissioners committed to financing the program for three years as a pilot project and set a goal for it to help 24 clients in its first year.
That goal was surpassed and 33 women were admitted in the first year.
“Of the three women not accepted, all were referred to other resources – two of them due to distance barriers and the other due to physical and mental needs that were outside of the scope of the Tides program,” a news release stated.
“2019 has been a big year so far,” The Tides founder Skip Johnstone said in the release. “We opened our first transitional living facility and already have a waiting list for women that need housing so they can stay with their babies. We have seen great success with women as they have learned how to love themselves and others, understand addiction, become responsible with life skills, get healthy and be the best version of themselves for their babies.”
Debbie Kinsey, executive director of The Tides, said that during the program’s first fiscal year, 11 babies were born among participants.
“Although all the babies born to our women were considered NAS [neonatal abstinence syndrome] births, most were due to only the presence of buprenorphine (medication-assisted therapy), which is less harmful to the baby and causes reduced withdrawals than the previous opioids the women were using when they entered the program,” she said.
All of those babies remain in some form of custody with their mothers or family members and remain outside of the long-term foster care system, she said.
The nonprofit’s executive board, officials said, adopted an evidence-based treatment model “to design the program based on county needs, social determinants, strengths and resources.”