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ReVIDA Recovery opens, forms partnership to reduce babies born drug-dependent

TennCare data shows East Tennessee leads the state in the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After a few months of operation, ReVIDA Recovery Knoxville held its grand opening Wednesday. 

At the event, ReVIDA CEO Lee Dilworth announced a partnership between ReVIDA and 180 Health Partners that will work to reduce the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

"We wake up every day to help people recover their lives from opioids," Dilworth said. "We look forward to this partnership helping expectant mothers who have been harmed by the opioid epidemic reclaim their lives."

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The Tennessee Department of Health defines neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) as "a condition in which an infant undergoes withdrawal from a substance in which he or she was exposed to in-utero." 

Data from TennCare shows among its recipients, East Tennessee has the highest concentration of babies born drug-dependent, with more than 50 per every 1,000 live births in most counties.

Credit: TennCare
East Tennessee has the highest concentration of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

This new collaboration with 180 Health Partners aims to change that. 

"They will walk with that [mother] between visits, and they link them with outside resources... anything that they need to make sure that they are living a healthy life as well as their children and any unborn future children that they have coming along," ReVIDA director of corporate and community development Angelee Murray said. 

She and her colleagues are excited to see what this partnership brings. 

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"We're going to follow the evidence and have great outcomes," Dilworth said. He and his colleagues at ReVIDA are hopeful their medication-assisted therapy, along with behavioral help and other partners will help save lives in the region. 

Zachary Talbott overcame his own opioid use disorder and is now overseeing clinical care for ReVIDA. He hopes his experience, combined with ReVIDA's clinicians and evidence-based methods will help others who find themselves in similar situations. 

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"It's important folks realize that opioid use disorder knows no boundaries, by class, or race, gender, religious background," he said. "It's exciting that ReVIDA is going to be able to bring this holistic approach to treating the whole person."

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