Columbus, OH,
16:24 PM

Columbus Dispatch: Couple say birth of son will keep them off heroin

Natasha Long and her partner, Adam Conkey, are former heroin users. Last fall, they shared their story of battling addiction with The Columbus Dispatch for the newspaper’s “Heroin’s Hold on Us” series. Recently, they found a very important reason to stop. In September, Natasha learned she was pregnant with the couple’s son, Asher, who she delivered at OhioHealth Doctors Hospital in early March. The couple told the Dispatch that they decided to quit together in November.

OhioHealth physician Krisanna Deppen, MD, has specialized training in addiction medicine. While she was not the physician who treated Natasha, she says treating pregnant women and mothers with addiction can help reduce premature births and lower the infant mortality rate.

"It's not just about the adult but also about the child, about their development and their ability to grow into a healthy young person," Deppen told Dispatch reporter JoAnne Viviano. "If we care about these babies and future generations, we really need to support these parents."

Dr. Deppen says that certain opioid medications, like buprenorphine or methadone, may be given in order to keep pregnant women from suffering withdrawal symptoms that can lead to fetal distress.

Dr. Deppen says it's very important to remember that women being treated for addiction during pregnancy are not villains. “They have a chronic medical disease that is treatable. They and their babies can do well, and often do with the right amount of support” she told the Dispatch.

To read Dispatch reporter JoAnne Viviano’s full story on Natasha, Adam, and Asher, as well as other articles in their heroin series, click on the Columbus Dispatch logo.