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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Data Provided By

Definitions: This indicator reflects the number of infants born in Maine where a healthcare provider reported to the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) that there was reasonable cause to suspect the baby may be either affected by illegal substance abuse, demonstrating withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal exposure (illicit or prescribed), or have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. This measure potentially excludes instances where the infant was exposed to substances and did not show withdrawal symptoms after birth, instances where the birth of an infant affected by substances was not reported to OCFS, and any other instances in which there were discrepancies between reporters when interpreting the law. The numerator is the number of babies born drug affected and the denominator is the number of births in a calendar year in Maine.

Data Source: Maine Office of Child and Family Services, (OCFS) of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the number of drug affected babies. The State of Maine Office of Vital Statistics for the number of births in Maine per calendar year.

Footnotes: Uploaded April 2018.