The heroin crisis is hitting all segments of the population, including pregnant women, but there is only one therapeutic residential facility for them in the state.
But that should soon change with the planned opening of a new facility in Rochester.
Abi Lizotte said she had her son, Parker, are survivors.
“He is about to be 6 months old, and at the time when I was pregnant with him, I was actively using,” Lizotte said.
Homeless, addicted and eight months pregnant, Lizotte met registered nurse Kerry Norton and OB/GYN Dr. Colene Arnold. Both said they had seen many young women like Lizotte.
“They’re at risk for losing their children, for dying, for not being supported,” Norton said.
The two tried in vain to find Lizotte the high level of care she needed in New Hampshire. She eventually found it in another state.
The two then co-founded Hope on Haven Hill.
“Addiction is a mental health issue, and they can’t just stop,” Arnold said. “‘Just say no’ doesn’t work. Especially in that timeframe, who wouldn’t want to do something to help their baby? It’s a very motivating time, but unfortunately, the brain has been taken over by these chemicals, and it’s really, really difficult.”
As the two look for funding help, Arnold said she plans to move her family out of their big Haven Hill farmhouse in Rochester, which has approval for eight women and their babies to move in, hopefully by fall.
“We’re going to have family meals,” Norton said. “We’re going to have family meetings, we’re going to run the home like a family, and they’re going to get the therapeutic care they need and deserve.”
The two said they’re getting calls for help, and if they opened today, they would have a waiting list of hundreds.
“I have to do this for myself,” Lizotte said. “No one can do it for me, but I cannot do it alone.”
Norton and Arnold said they hope that Hope on Haven Hill will be the first of many new facilities for pregnant women or new mothers trying to recover from addiction.
Courtesy of WMUR Channel 9 – NH