KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES, January 9, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — According to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, rising prescription painkiller abuse and heroin dependence have led to an alarming growth in the number of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) since 2000. NAS refers to what happens to newborn babies that have been exposed to addictive opiates while in their mother's womb.
Over the past decade, Tennessee has seen a ten-fold rise in the incidence of babies born with NAS. In response to this crisis, Reverend Rebekah Fetzer established Susannah's House to serve these mothers and their infant children.
“Babies are born dependent on these harmful drugs and experience the same withdrawal symptoms adults do,” says Fetzer. “It's a horrible situation and a huge problem, particularly here in East Tennessee and the Appalachian area. It's becoming a bigger problem in the rest of the country now too.”
Susannah's House is an Intensive Outpatient Recovery Program for mothers in recovery. Its mission is to be a source of help and hope for women and their children to break the cycle and rebuild their families.
“When babies are born dependent like this, very often they are removed from the parent's custody,” says Fetzer. “Our desire is to keep these mothers and their children together.”
Reverend Fetzer can recall her first experience with NAS vividly.
“I was called to the hospital to visit with a family that was adopting a baby,” recalls Fetzer. “When I got there, I found out that the baby was in withdrawal from morphine. I saw first-hand the pain this baby was going through. I saw the tremors and the screaming. The nurse told me that all of the babies in that nursery were withdrawing from drugs. It just broke my heart. All these babies were suffering and families were being torn apart. Nothing really in the area was being done about it at the time, but something had to be done.”
Susannah’s House is a faith-based organization.
“So many of our women who come to us are empty inside,” says Fetzer. “They don't have something to fill them up. They're constantly looking for things to fill them up: sex, drugs, shoplifting. The problem is it always gets empty again. Our belief is that God fills up that hole for good.”
Reverend Fetzer says a successful outcome is that they have safe transportation and housing, that they've worked through the steps and can support their children.
“I am most proud of the women that we have on our program,” says Fetzer. “They are my heroes because they work so hard at what they do. And the ones who make it have worked incredibly hard with so many hours of classes and therapy that they've gone through. And they really want to do it for their kids.”
CUTV News Radio will feature Rev. Rebekah Fetzer in an interview with Jim Masters on January 11th at 2pm EST.
Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio.
If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.
For more information on Susannah’s House, visit http://www.susannahshouse.org.
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Source: EIN Presswire