June 20, 2019 5:20 pm

Kingston doctor wants mothers coping with addiction to recover with their children

WATCH: A Kingston doctor says he's lobbying the province to bring a unique addictions program to Kingston, in which addicted mothers can recover, while being able to live with their children.

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A Kingston doctor is hoping mothers coping with addiction can have a place to recover, while continuing to care for their children.

The proposed program is modeled after one offered at Portage, an addictions recovery centre based in various parts of the country.

“Portage, the organization who has taken on this project, has said that they will establish and run a mother-child program here in Kingston, if we can get the provincial government to agree to fund it,” Dr. Adam Newman said.

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Newman is a family physician who specialzes in addiction treatment.

Currently in Kingston, the practice known as “rooming in” has been happening since 2013, but on a much smaller scale.

READ MORE: Babies born addicted to drugs up 42 per cent at St. Boniface Hospital

Mothers who suffer from addiction while giving birth are able to room with their babies, and both receive treatment.

Since the program launched, 100 mother-child pairs have been cared for and the number of babies needing treatment with morphine has dropped from 83 to 14 per cent, according to statistics provided by Family and Children Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

“This is a wonderful program; it’s been working exceptionally well,” Newman said. “We’ve proven that it works and that it’s better for the mother, for the baby, for everybody.

“It’s cheaper for society. But after those five days in the hospital there’s nowhere for the mother to go.”

WATCH: (Oct. 26, 2019) Addiction and Mental Health Services in the Kingston area layoff staff

Should the province ever fund the program in Kingston, the Sisters of Providence have already offered space for the program on their property at Princess and Sir John A. MacDonald Boulevard.

READ MORE: Fentanyl Making a Killing

A woman, who asked to be referred to as Amy and is a success story of Portage’s Mother-Children program, says it had a life-changing effect on her, and her children.

“From the very beginning I wasn’t able to victimize myself,” Amy said. “I had to be there for my son, there for myself. I had to own my peace, and the things that had happened in my life. I had to be a mom, and they taught me how to do that.

“I have so many friends who have told me that they wish they could have had this opportunity,” she added. “I’ve seen them lose their children, by asking for help.”

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