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Opioid victim channels her grief into a documentary film focusing on the drug epidemic in West Virginia

Mary Sue Connolly; Director of Overdosed, a documentary about the US opioid epidemic. More importantly, I am also a family member of someone who was lost to addiction. I lost my 21 year old nephew, Paul, to an overdose on November 24th 2016 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Since the devastating loss of Paul I have been on a journey to find answers about how this epidemic unfolded and snowballed into the largest public health crisis the country has seen. […]

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10 Tips to Get You Through the Holidays on Your Journey to Recovery [BLOG]

For many, the holidays are looked forward to as the most wonderful time of the year. However, for many it is also a time that is loaded with expectations that can sometimes be overwhelming. […]

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How to navigate an interview after recovery [BLOG]

many more exciting things. If you have found that one of these things is to start a new career, congratulations! While this is more than likely something that is very exciting, we know that it is also a bit scary to go into something unknown. […]

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Sizing up the milestones [BLOG]

 Before you even leave the hospital after giving birth to your newborn, they are already being weighed and measured against a list of norms and expectations. While this will be something that will continue for many years to come, it is very important in the first few years. […]

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Missed [BLOG]

I never missed a shot of meth…but the truth is I did miss all the time. I missed birthday, holidays, family dinners. […]

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Postpartum depression: You are not alone [BLOG]

Since the beginning of time, women have been giving birth and then having to heal from the event during the postpartum period that follows. However, it was not until the late 1980’s that awareness began to surface on the prevalence of postpartum depression and the struggles that many women go through during recovery.  […]

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Pampering Your Newborn [BLOG]

While new parents are often encouraged to engage in skin-to-skin or kangaroo care with their newborns, many are not shown the techniques they can use to further the bonding and lessen the stress of their new bundle of joy through infant massage. […]

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Substance Use and Disabilities, How Are They Related?  [BLOG]

How are substance use and disabilities related? This is a common question for so many. Yet the link between substance use and disabilities is not talked about often in society. The truth is that the link between the two is very common.  However, treatment rates are very low. We know a few things but rarely connect the two.  […]

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Someone to listen [BLOG]

People sometimes just need someone to listen to them. Someone to share some misery and take some of the load for them. […]

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5 Simple Parenting Skills to Enhance Your Relationship with Your Young Child [BLOG]

As a parent, you may be bombarded with advice on the best parenting practices. You want to know how to interact positively with your child, but all of the tips and suggestions can be confusing and overwhelming. In this post, we want to share with you five easy skills that you can use throughout the day to make your interactions with your children easy and enjoyable. These five skills are often referred to as PRIDE skills, as they spell out the acronym “PRIDE..” […]

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Building Attachment [BLOG]

We have all heard how critical it is for a mother to attach to her newborn in those first few hours of life and then for the first three years of the baby’s life. Attachment is so much more. Attachment begins from the moment an individual emotionally acknowledges their pregnant and those outward emotions turn inward. Prenatal attachment is linked to positive postnatal development of the child.  […]

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Getting Connected for Family Health Care [BLOG]

Raising a family isn’t easy, so take a minute and give yourself some well-deserved credit for all of the hard work you do, day in and day out, to keep your family safe, happy and healthy! Studies have shown that women typically make the majority of healthcare decisions for their families, but you don’t need to do it alone.  There are so many resources available that can help ease some of your stress. […]

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Words Matter

I often see and/or hear professionals use the terminology “infant born addicted” or “the infant is addicted to substances.” I believe it’s important to use the correct verbiage if we want to see change and end stigmas. […]

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Child Welfare and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many complicated challenges, especially for parents, and mothers with substance use disorder have dealt with even greater challenges. One study found in a sample of 508 mothers that 39.2% of them had increased their substance use. […]

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A Mother with Substance Use Disorder is Still a Mother

Motherhood is a time in many women’s lives in which they look forward to. Tiny booties, darling onesies, and numerous congratulations are typically in order. However, mothers who use substances are often deprived of this joy because of the stigma they encounter. Fear of custody battles, harsh judgment, and ridicule – that is what these mothers face, even when in recovery for their disease. Mothers who have a substance use disorder are deemed instantly unfit, but the truth of the matter is these moms care and want the best for their children like many other mothers. The moms care to the point they are willing to battle the monster of addiction, which is not a small feat.   […]

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Mother with her new born baby girl in the hospital.

Adverse Babyhood Experiences: A Focus for Prevention

Recently, adverse babyhood experiences (ABEs) have expanded on what is known about childhood adversity. ABEs are ten categories of negative events that happen to a mother before she conceives a child and the negative events that occur during pregnancy, labor, and up to the child’s third birthday. […]

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Shaping Health Through Childhood Experiences

What happens during one’s childhood has a tremendous impact on the way their body and mind develop, with both adverse and positive childhood experiences playing their own roles. […]

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Raising COVID-19 vaccine confidence in those impacted by Substance Use Disorder

Did you know people with substance use disorder are at increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19? IMPACT WV is working to increase vaccine confidence among those with substance use disorder by delivering targeted outreach messages based on the Stages of Change. […]

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Substance Use Disorder puts you at a greater risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. Think about it. #IMPACT Covid. Get vaccinated.

Individuals with Disabilities & Substance Use: Let’s Talk About It

Did you know that individuals with disabilities frequently develop substance use disorders to offset physical pain, emotional and mental disorders, low moods, and anxiety? It is not uncommon for disability and addiction to switch roles between cause and effect. Some individuals struggling with a substance use disorder end up developing a disability or disabilities as a result of their alcohol or drug abuse, whereas other individuals begin using alcohol or drugs as a means to cope with their disability. […]

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Navigating DHHR Benefits When You Are Having Difficulty Connecting With A Worker

Navigating DHHR Benefits can be tricky, especially since COVID restrictions do not allow most workers on site. The good news is figuring out your benefits doesn’t have to make you pull your hair out. I’m going to review a few of the common benefits and how to best get in contact with a worker if you are needing more assistance. […]

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Who Suffers When There’s No Self-Care?

One of the most difficult concepts to put into practice, when you are a mother, is self-care. “Self” is not a word that comes to mind when you are a mother. Your hair is decorated with cheerios, your clothes are saturated with bleach or food stains, and your name is a constant echo. But who really suffers when we don’t care for ourselves? Who usually get’s the irritability that follows? […]

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Self-Care for Parents and Babies

We always hear, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but what else can we do while our baby sleeps or we just aren’t tired when the baby is? We often feel as if we can do it all, alone, but the reality is… We still need to take care of ourselves. We all need support. We must fill our own cups in order to fill others’ cups, too. Self-Care comes in many forms, here are a few. […]

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A few myths about cavities in baby teeth

As a pediatric dentist, I often hear some comments from parents and family members about why they believe the young patients have cavities on their baby teeth. […]

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Substance Use and Oral Health

It is often said, a smile is the window to the soul –but can substance use really affect one’s smile and overall oral health? …. The answer is a resounding YES! Even after just a short period of substance use, whether it be through drugs or alcohol, your oral health can begin to reveal the signs of addiction. The bottom-line is, your oral health reflects everything you do.

So, how does substance use affect teeth and oral health? […]

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Palette of Grief® After a Substance Use Death

When someone you care about dies, it can break your heart. When they die suddenly because of a fatal overdose, your heart can shatter into a million pieces. Although your mind feels like it is spinning out of control and your heart is breaking, there are ways to manage your loss. […]

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What are Protective Factors?

There are ways to build and strengthen the characteristics that keep WV families strong and resilient. Through the strengthening of coping strategies and by building resilience, WV families can deal more effectively with stressful events and eliminate some of the risk and negative impact of times of stress and anxiety. By building the factors that protect us from breaking down and/or giving up, we can learn to find balance and overcome negative impacts more constructively and effectively. Strong families build stronger communities! […]

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Motherhood: Relationships Matter!

The addition of a new baby can make creating or maintaining outside relationships a struggle whether that be with family, friends, or a partner. If your baby is born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), they may experience prolonged periods of fussiness which may lead to greater stress on you and your relationships. Don’t worry, there are a few tips that can help you navigate this time! […]

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Financial Considerations

Written by: Rebecca Campbell, MA Understanding finances when raising a baby can be difficult, but with a good plan of action and resources to assist you, it is not impossible. When you have a new baby you will have additional financial obligations to consider such as diapers, wipes, formula, medical appointment/medication costs, clothes, childcare, and […]

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Returning to Education After Baby

Written by: Rebecca Campbell, MA Have you ever wanted to further your education, but you were concerned about barriers you may face especially now that you have a new baby? The good news is there are options available to tailor your education directly to your needs and schedule. You can participate in online learning, find […]

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Getting a Job: Rights as a MAT user and employment and childcare resources

Written by: Rebecca Campbell, MA Disclaimer: Resources referenced within this blog are based on resources available prior to Covid-19. Resources may not currently be available to all individuals, but local DHHRs can provide updated information on resources as well as availability and requirements once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.  Hi moms! Now that you have had […]

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The Stigma of Maternal Substance Use

Mothers with substance use disorder (SUD) or a history of SUD face heavy stigmatization (Betsy Hardy, BSN, 2017). Stigma is a known barrier to treatment seeking. […]

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Bonding with Baby

Bonding is the term often used to describe the intense attachment between a parent and child.
We are going to examine some thoughts and feelings you may experience when your baby is born, when you are in the hospital and lastly, when you go home.
[…]

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What to expect next with a Home Visiting Program

Caring for a new baby with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) can be very stressful and overwhelming. Don’t worry Mama, home visiting programs are here to help you! Read more to learn about different home visiting programs. […]

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Why Mothers Should Really Consider Breastfeeding

New moms have all kinds of worries and fears. Mom’s who are in treatment for substance abuse worry about LOTS of additional things. Although most people don’t realize it, mothers whose infants go through withdrawal feel a tremendous amount of guilt, shame and so much fear for their babies. Breastfeeding can be a bridge to help mothers feel like they are helping their babies – even making their babies feel better during a truly stressful time. In truth, YOU are the medicine that your baby needs! […]

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Young mom nurses her newborn baby while in the child's nursery.

Signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)

Many babies exposed to certain substances in the womb (especially opioids) will show some signs of withdrawal after birth since they are no longer exposed to those substances once their umbilical cord is cut and their bodies process those substances out of their system. […]

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Here comes baby!

Congratulations mama, you have made it through your pregnancy, successfully grown your baby and are about to give them life! He or she will soon be in the world and, holy cow, there’s a lot to learn. Don’t worry, there are so many resources out there to help guide you on this new journey of motherhood so that you and your baby can grow and thrive together. […]

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