Addiction and pregnancy
Film sheds light on methadone treatment for pregnant women
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.
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.