ALPENA - The Alpena/Presque Isle Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Team is making an effort to reduce the growing number of children being born drug addicted in our communities in cooperation with Munson Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Alpena Regional Medical Center, Department of Human Services and 26th Judicial Circuit Court, Family Division.
The CAN team is seeking funds for the production of a video that portrays the real life horrific trauma of a baby born addicted.
"This video will contain footage of the first day of a child who is born addicted," CAN team Vice President Lee Fitzpatrick said. "It's an actual video of a real child. There is a major problem because our area is consuming more than our population's worth of these services. We're producing more drug-addicted children than we should for our population."
Patients from northern Michigan are consuming services for drug-addicted babies in hospitals in Traverse City and Saginaw at an extremely high rate. This preventable situation could lead to a lifetime of problems for the child and results in tremendous social costs for the community.
"After birth the child is separated from the mother, and often taken to a special unit," Fitzpatrick said. "The parents don't experience what the child experiences. They don't live that first day as the child does. This is a tragedy every time it occurs. It's a lifetime sentence for a child when parents use drugs and alcohol while the child is in the womb."
This video will include presentations by numerous professionals, but will primarily depict the experiences of a drug-addicted infant from birth to discharge from the hospital.
"There can be a lifetime of problems for that child because of being born drug addicted," Fitzpatrick said. "There are terrible traumas the child goes through during that first day and the rest of its life. The goal of this video is to address the problem in our area, and share it with the state to hopefully help address the issues around Michigan."
There are several uses for the video, including being part of a treatment plan for the biological parents of the addicted child. It also could be used as an education tool to help prevent this issue in the community. The team has received clearances from doctors and medical facilities to move forward with the video project and they have agreed to donate their time and space to the project.
In addition to the human suffering of a child born addicted, the cost of medical care can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which makes the production of this video appropriate for all parties involved.
"Every segment of society feels the cost every time this occurs," Fitzpatrick said. "We're only paying for the cost of the video production, which is $5,000, and the doctors and hospitals have donated their time, space and effort for the project. We have to address this problem for the children and the community."
To help support the development of this video, donations can be made by check with a memo to: CAN Team Addicted Baby Video, P.O. Box 267, Alpena, MI 49707. To request more information, contact Lee Fitzpatrick at 464-6447, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.