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Grant to combat heroin epidemic

TRANSITIONS RECEIVES STATE GRANT TO COMBAT HEROIN EPIDEMIC 

Funds Will Prevent Babies From Being Born With Drug Addictions 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / SEPT. 22, 2015

To prevent babies from suffering from heroin withdrawal symptoms, Kentucky has awarded a $219,600 grant to Transitions Inc. to help it provide opiate addiction treatment to pregnant women.

The number of Northern Kentucky babies suffering from heroin withdrawal symptoms – known as neonatal abstinence syndrome — is soaring. From 2011 to 2014, the number born at St. Elizabeth Healthcare hospitals – the largest hospital system in the region — climbed from 26 to 128 babies.

Transitions, Northern Kentucky’s largest addiction services provider, has a perfect record in the last four years in preventing babies from being born addicted. All of the babies born to its pregnant clients were born without withdrawal symptoms.

The grant will help Transitions maintain the programs at their current levels, although the organization could use about 10 times more money for the programs. The grant will pay for about 10 women to receive services.

“We’re grateful for this grant and thankful that Kentucky officials put a high priority on combating the devastation that heroin is causing,” said Transitions CEO Jim Beiting. “The heroin epidemic is so severe that we could serve hundreds of women and their children.”

Transitions is always seeking more resources. It has applied for Medicaid reimbursement for the programs that were awarded the grant and is hopeful Medicaid funding will be approved.

The grant to Transitions is part of a package of more than $3.5 million provided to Kentucky residential treatment facilities and community mental health centers to help treat prescription drug and heroin abuse and deal with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The grants came from Kentucky Senate Bill 192, the landmark legislation that addresses Kentucky’s widespread heroin problem.

The main focus of the Transitions grant will be the Women’s Residential Addiction Program – WRAP – in Covington. It contains a 46-bed licensed treatment program. It also runs a licensed childcare center so clients can retain custody of their children.

WRAP was the first program of its kind in Kentucky when it opened in 1992. It continues to be the only women’s residential treatment program in Northern Kentucky that allows children to live with their mothers. The WRAP program serves about 200 women and 40 children annually. About 20 women are pregnant while at WRAP.

WRAP treatment is divided into three phases: intensive counseling; working or performing community service while living at Transitions and participating in counseling and self-help groups; and attending weekly outpatient groups after moving out of Transitions.

The grant money also will fund Transitions’:

  • Detox Unit, the only program of its kind in Northern Kentucky. It provides a non-hospital setting for clients to undergo drug withdrawal. A physician conducts physical exams of all clients and is available 24 hours a day. While there, clients are introduced to self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Transition’s Healthy Newborn House of Covington, where pregnant women in the latter stages of their pregnancies and new mothers live while in treatment at WRAP, which is six blocks away. The program has 10 beds and 10 cribs.

Preventing the babies from getting addicted to heroin is cheaper than treating them at a hospital. St. Elizabeth spent $2.4 million in 2014 to treat babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Most of that funding came from Medicaid or contributed by the hospital.

Transitions is a founder of the Northern Kentucky Heroin Impact and Response Team – HIRT – formed in 2012 to address the region’s heroin epidemic. Transitions staff co-authored HIRT’s comprehensive plan, which has been used as a guide by other regions to write their own plans.

Media contacts:

Elliot Grossman — 513.240.9801  /  egrossman@ashire.net

Jim Beiting — 859.491.4435  /  jbeiting@transitionsky.org

Press Release PDF

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