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Opioid crisis impacting babies

The Catholic Family Center’s Liberty Manor Women’s Program reports 73 percent of women admitted so far in 2016 need treatment for opiate use. Compared to 45 percent of women admitted in 2014 who needed care for opiate use.

Rochester, N.Y. - The opioid crisis has trickled down to the most vulnerable population: babies.

A long term recovery center for women is looking to get ahead of the issue by helping expecting mothers.

"Since the highest increase of opiate use is among a younger population you're dealing with women who are in child bearing years," said Cathy Saresky, Vice President of Restart at Catholic Family Center. "Opiate use and pregnancy in any form or fashion is extremely difficult and challenging for the infant."

The Catholic Family Center's Liberty Manor Women's Program reports 73 percent of women admitted so far in 2016 need treatment for opiate use. Compared to 45 percent of women admitted in 2014 who needed care for opiate use.

Saresky said a mother's withdrawal, can mean death for a baby in the womb. Opiate abuse, especially during the first trimester, can lead to lifelong complications for the baby.

"Major organs like the heart, the brain and it will be unknown what kind of affect that can have until the baby is born," said Saresky.

Liberty Manor also has beds available for children who are infants and up to preschool age.

The drug abuse can also land a parent in trouble with the law.

Adele Fine from the Monroe County Public Defender's Office said, "There has been a very much noticeable uptick with the number of cases that come into family court."

Fine is the Bureau Chief of the Family Court Bureau, and said she represents parents when Child Protective Services removes a child from their care.

"They don't set out in life to be addicted to heroin or pain medication or other types of opioids," said Fine. "It is a real public health crisis, but the services that are available to them are really not available to the degree they should be available."

Saresky said there is always a waiting list to receive care at Liberty Manor, and agrees more resources are urgently needed.

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