The cases of mother’s or pregnant women who are using drugs are greatly increasing. What is worse is the fact that many of these cases led to the death of the babies and this is all because of drug abuse. This is why supporting women who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction is very important. They need to receive all the help that they could get just to save their lives and those of their babies.

Five babies who died in 2018 born to mothers affected by substance misuseAll but one of the babies known to child protection services and whose deaths were independently investigated last year had mothers affected by substance misuse, the chair of a review team has said. Chairwoman of the National Review Panel (NRP) Helen Buckley was speaking to The Irish Times on the publication of the 2018 NRP annual report. The NRP is independent of Tusla and consists of professionals from a range of disciplines. It investigates serious incidents including the deaths of children in care and known to the child protection system.

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Ms. Buckley reiterated her call for a national drugs liaison midwife service to support pregnant women and mothers struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

In all, 13 deaths of children in care or known to Tusla, were referred to the NRP last year – a decrease of nine on 2017. More than half the deaths were of children five years or younger. In all, six were babies under 12 months’ old and one was under five. Ten were girls and three were boys.

Of the six babies, four had been born to mothers who were using drugs during and/or after pregnancy and one mother was affected by alcohol abuse, Ms Buckley said. One baby died as a result of a fatal foetal abnormality. Five of the babies were girls.

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