Pregnant women can now get medication-assisted treatment at St. Elizabeth in NKY

EDGEWOOD, Ky. -- Pregnant women with substance use disorders now have access to medication-assisted treatment at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky. 

St. Elizabeth started an induction program this week that helps expectant mothers kick addiction through the use of Suboxone, a medication that helps curb opioid cravings. 

The drug made all the difference in helping mothers like Shae Clem achieve sobriety. She said Suboxone made her first phase of recovery much easier. 

Before the birth of her daughter, Myrissa, Clem said she was addicted to prescription pain pills and heroin. 

“It was so dark, so dark,” Clem said. “I always say since I've been sober I can see color again … everything was just so black and white and grey all the time. It was horrible.” 

Clem received help through St. Elizabeth’s Baby Steps program, an initiative that aims to decrease the amount of babies exposed to opioids in utero. 

MORE: Baby Steps program helps mothers kick addiction 

At the time, Clem had to travel to Louisville for treatment. She said the fact that treatment for moms-to-be is in Northern Kentucky gives her “goosebumps.”

Dr. Martin Clements said offering medication-assisted treatment to women from the beginning allows the Baby Steps team to intervene early on. Part of that plan includes a three to four day stay at the Family Birthplace with no visitors. 

“It takes them out of their home environment which a lot of times is still driving them to use,” Clements said. “It breaks the pattern so many are still stuck in.” 

The women also commit to individual, group and 12-step therapy at St. Elizabeth’s Journey Recovery Center in Crestview Hills. 

Clem said she has hope for herself and her 3-month-old now that she’s sober. 

“It just gives you that faith that everything is gonna be OK as long as you fight for it,” Clem said. 

For more information about the Baby Steps program, call 859-301-2501.

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