Babies born exposed/affected to substances

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Why This Indicator Matters

Parental drug addiction is often a causative factor in families being involved in the child protective system. The child's basic needs for food and safety may not be met in households where drug abuse is present.

This data includes babies born affected by either illicit or prescribed medications. The data for which drug or drugs the baby may be addicted to is not recorded in the data set. However, at least one hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center,* reports that in the majority of cases, the babies reported to OCFS as drug affected are due to the mother's use of either Buprenorphine or Methadone during pregnancy. Pregnant women may be prescribed Methadone or Buprenorphine to treat their addictions to other substances. For the new born baby, treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can be inpatient or outpatient and can involve either pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic treatments.
*Mark Moran, Pediatric Forensic Clinic Coordinator at Eastern Maine Medical Center presentation to Maine Legislative Children's Caucus, 3/27/2018.

What the data shows
The number of babies born drug affected was on the rise in Maine in the years 2012-2016 and declined slightly in 2017. Still, in 2017, one in 13 babies born in Maine was born drug affected. In addition, in the latest year, the number of babies born drug affected exceeded 10% in 8 of Maine's 16 counties. In the latest year, while 4 counties continued to experience increases, the majority of counties saw a decline in the number of babies born drug affected. Over a 5 year period from 2012 -2016, the counties that averaged under 4% of babies born drug affected were: Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc. The counties with the highest 5 year average rate of babies born drug affected were: Penobscot (14.5%), Washington (13.5%), Piscataquis (12.9%)_ and Somerset (12.2%). 


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