Substance Abuse During Pregnancy and Beyond Conference 2013

PLYMOUTH, NH - On June 5, 2013, more than 160 home visitors, nurses and child and family professionals gathered  to participate in the “Substance Abuse during Pregnancy and Beyond” conference.   In the last 10 years in NH, the number of infants born addicted to substances has grown by 600%, with significant societal and medical costs incurred as a result.  Topics included the prevalence of substance abuse in NH, prenatal effects of exposure to alcohol or opioids (pain killers) on infants, how to handle exposed infants during the stages of withdrawal, the best ways to promote parent-child attachment and how to recognize the symptoms of drug use.

“Great presenters – they shared a vast amount of knowledge.  I wanted to attend all of the workshops!”

  • - Anonymous conference attendee

Many home visitors work with mothers during pregnancy and for up to three years after the child’s birth, so it is critical that they understand not only the impacts of addiction on the infant, but also the physical and psychological effects on the mother.   Self-care, goal planning, problem solving, self-esteem and effective and empathic parenting are all goals that home visitors work to develop with parents, in addition to connecting them with needed supports and services.  Substance abuse is a significant confounding factor in this work.  Home visitors are not clinical providers, nor are they treatment specialists.  They can and do work with families, however, to get or keep them treatment-ready and engaged in treatment as one piece of their work to improve family functioning and provide the best environment for healthy child development.

“I will use solution focused dialog questions with clients and knowledge of neonatal abstinence syndrome.”


  • - Anonymous conference attendees

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