Thursday, 25 April 2019 18:49

Number of drug-exposed newborns in Maine decreasing

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AUGUSTA - The number of drug-exposed newborns in Maine is reducing, but healthcare officials stress the drug epidemic is far from over.

The peak for drug-exposed babies in Maine was 2016, when 1,024 were born to mothers who had used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. The number has dropped every year since, but the average for the last six years is still 963.


“It's not just 900 babies, it's 900 babies every year,” said Gordon Smith, Director of Opioid Response in Maine.


The number of drug-exposed babies in Penobscot County had increased steadily up until 2015, when the number was 239. The year following, it dropped to 213, then to 167, and in 2018 it was 113.


Smith stressed the need to get drug-using mothers into recovery as soon as possible, and to prevent them from using in the first place.

Nit-Noi Ricker

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Nit-Noi Ricker is an Army brat who grew up on a farm in Winterport. She went to the University of Maine and the University of Northern Texas to learn how to be a journalist and started her career in Arizona at the Williams-Grand Canyon News, ...