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Delaware Is Providing Substance Abuse Treatment for Mothers

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A new inpatient treatment facility in Claymont provides medical and psychiatric care to mothers while working to keep families together.

Pregnant and mothering women with substance abuse issues are among the least understood and most stigmatized addicts, often avoiding treatment for fear they will lose their children.

A new inpatient treatment facility in Claymont, the first of its kind in Delaware, specializes in caring for mothers and mothers-to-be, providing on-site medical and psychiatric services, social services, child care, meals, and room and board, with 24-hour supervision and access to health care, child care and support staff.

“We know firsthand how the epidemic of substance use disorders creates untold costs to children’s welfare, public education, mental health and the criminal justice systems.”
—Dale Klatzker, Ph.D., CEO, Gaudenzia

The center is operated by Gaudenzia Inc., one of the region’s largest nonprofit providers of treatment for substance use disorders. The program is funded by $3.2 million in federal grants through the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). Previously, Delaware was one of only two states without a treatment center for pregnant and mothering addicts.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, a nurse and chair of the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium, is a longtime advocate of accessible treatment for substance abusers. Previously, women had to travel out of state for help.

“Pregnant and parenting women must have access to quality treatment services,” she says.

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The program is designed to save money and preserve families. More than 20% of Medicaid patients who give birth in Delaware have a substance abuse disorder, according to state statistics. The average cost per hospital stay for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome is $66,700.

“We know firsthand how the epidemic of substance use disorders creates untold costs to children’s welfare, public education, mental health and the criminal justice systems,” says Dale Klatzker, Ph.D., Gaudenzia’s CEO. “Keeping families together is one of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of addiction.”

Related: Delaware Is Becoming a Safe Haven for Reproductive Rights

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