Press Release - "Methadone Treatment, Pregnancy and Legal Issues: What the Experts Have to Say"

September 22, 2010

Experts to Address Methadone Treatment for Pregnant and Parenting Women in Tennessee: Although Methadone is “Gold Standard” Treatment for Opiate Addiction, Many Who Use it Face Punishment and Even Loss of Child Custody

CONTACT: Natalye Tate (405) 238-8466,

September 22, 2010

Nashville— National and International methadone treatment expert, Robert G. Newman, an MD, MPH, with more than 40 years of experience developing, directing and evaluating methadone treatment of opiate dependence, will lead a forum with local experts that explores methadone treatment and pregnant women. The forum – held on Friday, September 24 from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Flynn Auditorium at the Vanderbilt University School of Law - will feature Tennessee-based experts, Deborah Barton, MD, JD, Medical Director, Behavioral Health Group and Karen D’Apolito, PhD, APRN, NNP-BC, Director of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program at The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and Debbie Crowley, Tennessee Regional Manager, Behavioral Health.

Also speaking at the forum, “Methadone Treatment, Pregnancy and Legal Issues: What the Experts Have to Say,” are Kathrine Jack and Emma Ketteringham, attorneys at National Advocates for Pregnant Women who will address legal issues. In addition, several women will discuss their personal experiences with methadone treatment. The forum will provide an opportunity for people to hear from and speak with experts who will address evidence-based research regarding methadone treatment and its impact, particularly on pregnant women, children and their families.

Drug treatment providers and patients in Tennessee are experiencing a disconnect between what evidence based research says regarding the value and efficacy of methadone treatment and the responses they get to that treatment from child welfare workers, judges, probation and parole officers, and even some health care providers. In spite of the fact that both Tennessee and national policy recognizes the value of methadone treatment to pregnant women, children, and families, many beneficiaries of this treatment report that they have been punished or threatened with punishment for obtaining methadone treatment.

According to Debbie Crowley, Tennessee Regional Manager, Behavioral Health Group “we have patients who do everything possible to follow medical and legal advice to recover from opiate addiction only to find themselves in trouble with the law.” She explained that “parents are threatened with having their children removed because mom or dad is receiving methadone treatment, or are treated as drug dealers or users if police find methadone medication in their possession.”

This program is co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University Law School, Vanderbilt School of Nursing, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Behavioral Health Group and the Middle Tennessee Methadone Treatment Center of Nashville. The event is open to the public.

When: Friday, September 24, 2010 (half day program 8-am- 12:30pm)

Where: Vanderbilt University School of Law, Flynn Auditorium, 131 21st Avenue South