My life changed after I got married. In the beginning, life was great, but then our children were born. Life started getting tough, and the verbal and physical abuse in my marriage progressed. Reality hit me hard. I was no longer under the safe haven that my father and mother had secured for my siblings, and I. I did not want to reach out to them or anyone. Instead, I reached out to substance abuse. It introduced me to a new way of escaping life. I never thought, or even imagined, I would use drugs with my unborn children. By the grace of God, they were not born addicted.
I was given an opportunity to experience a life free from substance abuse, and escaped from the horrors of addiction. I had someone that was supportive of me. However, there are many pregnant and parenting mothers’ sufferings from addiction, compounded by the woes of domestic violence, with nobody to support them. Nobody is exempt from a circumstance like my own, not you, a loved one or a dear friend. Anyone can experience the horrors of substance abuse disorder. Our local community is struggling. I see the horrors of addiction daily, and its effects on infant mortality. I talk to women trying to find a way out for themselves and their children.
According to the Addiction Center, the number of babies being born in the United States addicted to opioids has tripled in past 15 years. They also reported that every 15 minutes a baby is born addicted to opioid drugs (National Abstinence Syndrome, 2020). These are just a few facts about our children, but what about the ones’ that society or the government do not know about. Everyone is focused on one drug. It is not all about opioids. We still have mothers and children addicted to crack, meth, K2, and other substances that in our neighborhoods. This too, is an epidemic.
I started a program for adolescences caught in the ‘grip’ of drugs and alcohol. One of my clients shared with me he was a heroin addict at the age of eight years old. I wanted to cry, and I did on the inside. That was when I knew I had to be a part of a movement that will help our children, and their mothers. I am a community peer educator, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) counselor for Women In Motion Inc. We serve women and children that are dealing with high-risk behaviors, domestic violence, substance abuse and most of all infant mortality.
Infant mortality has a horrible grip on society. As a Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leader, I am committed to be of service to these mothers and babies, in the ‘grip’ of substance abuse, still fighting for their lives. Will you help me?
Addiction Center. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. (2020). https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/neonatal-abstinence-syndrome/