LOUISA, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky's rate of babies born dependent on drugs is one of the top in the nation. In 2013, 15 babies out of 1,000 were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, according to the CDC.
At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit last year in Atlanta, University of Kentucky Neonatologist Dr. Henrietta Bada told WKYT's Miranda Combs,"The key thing in treating these children is that you have a mother in a treatment program, and also that program is addressing her mental health."
About the same time as the summit, the founder of Addiction Recovery Care , and his Chief of Staff Matt Brown, stumbled upon a place in Louisa that seemed to be fate. "He was like, 'Let's go look at this house,'" recalled Brown. "I said, 'What do you think this is going to be?' And he said "Well, I think this is going to be a maternity center, or at least I would like for it to be.' And as soon as we get out of the car and walked on the porch, there was a statue of Jesus holding a baby standing on the porch," Brown said.
The statue now sits in the foyer of Karen's Place Maternity Center, a 16-bed rehab facility for recovering mothers. Pregnant women can stay at the home toward the end of their pregnancy, and then come back after the delivery for up to three months. "We wanted it to feel like home again," explained Assistant Director April Wise. "They could learn to live like they would live at home and be ready to go home."
"I know I put my little girl through a lot and I really want to start this baby's life different," explained one of the residents at Karen's Place. Her life has followed the path of many in Kentucky: an addiction that started with pain pills and progressed to IV drugs and overdoses. "I was on a ventilator for five days, and the sad part is, when I woke up in the hospital I wasn't even worried about what had just happened to me. I just wanted to get high."
She has an eight year-old daughter and is six months pregnant. A friend led her to Karen's Place Maternity Center. "I don't want to live that way anymore because it's awful, and I want my kids to be happy and be able to look up to me and say something proud about their mom," she said. On the day WKYT interviewed her, she was headed to her six-month ultrasound. "Today I am going to have an ultrasound sober. And I'm really excited about it," she said.
Karen's Place Maternity Center is a part of Addiction Recovery Care, a for-profit residential and out-patient program for drug and alcohol abuse. Addiction Recovery Care isn't the first rehab to allow mothers to stay in treatment after the baby is born, but they are one of the few in the state.