Program for Newborns Exposed to Substances: Department of Health

Department of Health, Substance-Exposed Newborns Program

Our mission is dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals during prenatal and postnatal periods, as well as their children and families.

It is concerning to note that a significant percentage of babies born in Rhode Island are exposed to substances prenatally, leading to potential health issues both in the short-term and long-term. The Substance-Exposed Newborns Program plays a crucial role in providing early interventions and support to families facing this challenge, through services like peer recovery support, family visiting, medication-assisted treatment, mental health counseling, screenings, and referrals.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a reality for many newborns exposed to substances like opioids before birth, requiring specific treatment and longer hospital stays. The statistics from 2022 highlight the impact of NAS on Rhode Island children.

Our focus remains on developing and maintaining a Plan of Safe Care (POSC) to assist infants and families affected by prenatal substance exposure or withdrawal symptoms, emphasizing the importance of post-discharge support services. Additionally, we coordinate the efforts of the Substance-Exposed Newborns Task Force to ensure a collaborative approach in improving the health and well-being of families in need.

The annual Rhode Island Substance-Exposed Newborns Conference is also a vital platform for bringing together experts to share best practices, policy information, and resources to support pregnant and postpartum individuals and their families dealing with prenatal substance exposure.

For anyone facing substance exposure during pregnancy, reaching out for support is crucial. Connecting with resources like peer recovery coaches, Family Visiting, the Parent Support Network of Rhode Island, or the Rhode Island Community for Addiction Recovery Efforts can offer personalized, non-judgmental assistance and care. It’s essential to know that help is available for those in need.

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