Ad­dic­tion and preg­nancy

Film sheds light on methadone treat­ment for preg­nant women

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

Is­land mother Court­ney McGee is one of sev­eral women shar­ing her pow­er­ful story of over­com­ing opi­ate ad­dic­tion while preg­nant.

In the new doc­u­men­tary-style film, “Moth­ers & Methadone”, McGee ex­plains that she sought help for her ad­dic­tion through Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s methadone treat­ment pro­gram. Al­though her son was born with neona­tal ab­sti­nence syn­drome as a re­sult of the methadone treat­ment — a fairly com­mon di­ag­no­sis among new­borns of moth­ers un­der­go­ing treat­ment — he was healthy and symp­tom-free fol­low­ing weeks of treat­ment in hos­pi­tal.

“There are peo­ple who are go­ing to judge you and bring you down, but there is way more peo­ple out there that care about you get­ting healthy,” McGee said. “The care is there. It is read­ily avail­able, and there are peo­ple who will help you out along the way.”

Health P.E.I., with fund­ing from Health Canada’s Drug Treat­ment Fund­ing Pro­gram, com­mis­sioned film­maker Jenna MacMil­lan to cre­ate the film to bring greater aware­ness about opi­ate ad­dic­tion and preg­nancy. The 10-minute short fea­tures Is­land moth­ers who sought care through the prov­ince’s methadone pro­gram, as well as sev­eral clin­i­cians in­volved in de­liv­er­ing the pro­gram.

The film will be screened pub­licly for the first time on Satur­day, July 15, dur­ing P.E.I. Fest — Prince Ed­ward Is­land’s Film, Food and Ideas Fes­ti­val.

“Be­com­ing a par­ent is a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and what you learn early on is that it’s not just about you any more,” said pe­di­a­tri­cian Dr. Kathy Bigsby, who was also in­ter­viewed in the film.

“When you’re strug­gling with an ad­dic­tion it can be dif­fi­cult to make good de­ci­sions and, some­times, the ad­dic­tion comes be­fore any­thing else. When you’re be­com­ing a par­ent, you have to be able to put your child first and the methadone treat­ment pro­gram makes that pos­si­ble.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about ad­dic­tion ser­vices on Prince Ed­ward Is­land, in­clud­ing the methadone treat­ment pro­gram, visit www.health­pei.ca/ad­dic­tions or call toll-free 1-888-2998399.

YOUTUBE SCREEN GRAB

Dr. Kathy Bigsby, a pe­di­a­tri­cian in Prince Ed­ward Is­land, ap­pears in the new film “Moth­ers & Methadone,” which is screen­ing Satur­day as part of P.E.I. Fest.

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