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The Voices Of Casa Mia: Motherhood And Substance Abuse Recovery

Provided by Casa Mia.
A mother and daughter at Casa Mia.

One-third of all Texas infants diagnosed with opioid withdrawal are born in Bexar County, which has the highest rate in the state. UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing and the nonprofit Crosspoint are working together to help those children and their mothers. They created a one-of-a-kind program designed to re-unite mothers and their babies while also breaking the generational cycle of drug addiction.

At a two-story residential home in the upscale Monte Vista neighborhood, mothers and their young children play, interact, and most importantly bond. That bonding is something that many may take for granted but when mothers are in jail or in the grips of substance abuse, the forming of that foundational imprinting relationship doesn’t happen. And the cycle of addiction and poverty continues.

Casa Mia allows the mothers to receive the recovery counseling and support while living with their children.

“It originally was focused on opioid use disorder. But with continued funding, we've been able to expand it to really any type of substance use disorder,” said Lisa Cleveland, associate professor at UT health school of nursing. “Casa Mia is different because we don't separate moms from their children. Traditionally when women have to go into treatment, they have to make the difficult decision to either put their children in foster care or the lucky ones maybe have family members who can care for their children — which is really traumatic for both the mother and the child. And, we know that about 70% of women with substance use disorder have young dependent children, but very few recovery homes actually offer beds for women and children."

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi