September 15, 2020

Van Hollen, Cardin, Trone Announce Western Maryland Area Health Education Center to Receive More Than $160,000 in Funding to Combat the Effects of the Opioid Crisis on Newborns

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and U.S. Representative David Trone (all D-Md.) announced that the Western Maryland Area Health Education Center will receive $166,666 in funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration to help combat the prevalence of opioid-related illnesses in newborns.The Western Maryland Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to improve access and quality of care in Western Maryland. The organization services Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties in Maryland and portions of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“The opioid crisis has wreaked havoc on countless families in Maryland. This funding will help reduce the incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in newborns, a particularly vulnerable population, and provide their mothers with the support needed to prevent and treat opioid-related complications during pregnancy. As we work to end the opioid epidemic across the country, we will continue fighting for resources for the hardest hit communities in our state,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Some of the most tragic consequences of the opioid epidemic are the generational effects of addiction. We must do everything possible to provide the necessary care and services to the infants and children who are affected by opioid addiction, as early-life care is especially important to their life-long health trajectory,” said Senator Cardin. “The experts at AHEC are uniquely positioned to serve Western Maryland communities, and this grant will help them expand their capacity and continue delivering positive outcomes to those in need.”   

“It is heartbreaking to know that the youngest victims of the addiction epidemic are newborns,” said Congressman David Trone, founder of the Freshman Working Group on Addiction. “This funding will get fast help to the mothers and babies who need it. I am grateful for the good people at AHEC who make Western Maryland a stronger, safer, and healthier place to live every day.”

The funding comes through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a project dedicated to reducing the prevalence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, an illness found in newborns that were exposed to opioids in the mother’s womb. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services working to expand access to health care services to vulnerable Americans.