Roberts’ legislation receives approval from legislative leadership
December 9, 2019
AUGUSTA – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tiffany Roberts, D-South Berwick, received approval Friday from legislative leadership. The bill will be considered by the full legislature when it returns in January.
Roberts’ bill, LR 2793, would create a grant program for the treatment of expectant mothers affected by opioid abuse. The program would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Opioid-impacted newborns are at risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). This occurs when newborns face the impacts of withdrawal and separation from opioids. Recent studies suggest that children with NAS were more likely to face developmental delays and have challenges with speech and language. br />
“The window in which someone impacted by the opioid epidemic is willing to accept help or treatment is ever so small,” said Roberts. When hurdles are faced, like waits for beds, lack of insurance, women will often give up hope, and their lives are put in jeopardy. With this bill we are talking about two lives at risk.
According to the 2019 Maine KidsCount Report, last year 1 in 12 babies born in Maine were either exposed or affected by substances.
All legislation considered during the Legislatures second session must first be approved by legislative leaders. Roberts legislation was approved by a vote of 9-1.
Roberts, who is serving her first term in the Maine House, represents parts of the towns of North and South Berwick. She is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.