Covington organization gives hope to heroin-addicted mothers

Nicole and Mandy practicing mothering skills
Nicole and Mandy practicing mothering skills

COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) - The heroin epidemic gripping the Tri-State affects more than just the addicts and their families it also affects babies born to drug addicted mothers.

However, a new program has been launched that helps pregnant women learn to live a life free of addiction.

Being homeless, pregnant and addicted is a problem in Northern Kentucky, but a local non-profit called Transitions has established a house for addicted mothers-to-be and they are getting a little help from the 2014 class of Leadership Northern Kentucky.

The class includes Elizabeth Corbett who says she and her fellow classmates are trying to do something to help pregnant heroin addicts.

"We not only improve the day to day lives of the women and the babies through collecting items for healthy start-up kits and also kind of enriching their life skills," explained Corbett.

Life skills are a key component of the program called the Healthy Newborns Project. Corbett says the goal is to transition these pregnant women from drug treatment to independent living. We want to teach them everything from basic childcare to how to balance a checkbook, healthy nutrition. Kind of any everyday skill you might need to raise a family.

"They helped me to not be on the streets and you know I've stayed and kept a job and they make sure you have a good network of people to talk to and have a sponsor so you can have someone to talk to if you're going through stuff," said 28-year-old Nicole Snyder, a woman getting help from the healthy newborn project.

Nicole's house mate, 31-year-old Mandy Gillum, began using heroin less than a year ago. Her addiction quickly spiraled out of control. Mandy says when she became pregnant she realized her options were limited.

"It's either jail or go to treatment or you know. A lot of us were going to die. We were at that point where we weren't going to be able to survive living the way we were living," said Mandy.

"I've think it's working out very well. I've been able to see the four of them stay sober and that's the beginning of the fight," said Mandy's boyfriend John Kuews, who is also the baby's father.

Mandy Gillum, whose due date is March 17, and her three roommates at this safe house have four months after giving birth to find more permanent housing.

The Coving ton safe house can accommodate up to 10 expectant mothers and is the only program of its kind in Northern Kentucky.

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