Beyond NAS 2019 Conference Offers Summit on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Beyond NAS Conference
Beyond NAS Conference – To The Moon and Back (TTMAB), an advocacy non-profit dedicated to supporting children born substance exposed and their caregivers, and Substance Exposed Newborns of Southeast Massachusetts (SENSE), partner to present Beyond NAS 2019 Conference, gathering the top minds that fuel best practices in care for children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).  The full day summit, held on May 10, from 8 am to 4 pm at Hotel 1620, 160 Water Street, Plymouth, is open to the public, especially helpful for families caring for children with/after NAS, behavioral health clinicians, teachers, nurses, pediatricians, early intervention providers and early childhood educators.  Free conference childcare is provided by Faith Community Church by advance registration.  Continuing Education (CEU) credits have been requested for nurses and social workers.

To The Moon and Back Founder Theresa Harmon, MSW, LICSW

“We are pleased to offer this important opportunity to those in such great need – the families caring for children with NAS and frontline providers in our communities,” shares TTMAB Founder Theresa Harmon.  “We’re grateful to collaborate with SENSE to unify the important work they do supporting the South Coast region by coupling it with the work To The Moon and Back has established in Plymouth and on the South Shore.  This is great progress for the big picture of support and advocacy for families!”

Beyond NAS 2019 Conference features nationally recognized speakers educating health care and social service providers and those caring for children that were born substance exposed on the latest research and practices during early care and beyond.  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is the withdrawal syndrome that some children exposed to drugs and dependency in utero may experience at birth.  Currently, limited research on the long-term consequences of NAS suggests that children born with the syndrome can experience hearing and vision problems, fine and gross motor delays, behavioral and cognitive problems and more.  A child is born in the United States with withdrawal symptoms every 15 minutes (Source: Vanderbilt University, 2018).  This is a marked increase from 2015 when one child with withdrawal symptoms was born every 25 minutes (Source: March of Dimes, 2015).  In 2017, The Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimated that 21.4 out of every 1000 live births were children born opiate dependent, a drastic increase from 14.5 per 1000 births in 2015.  The Southeastern Massachusetts region has the highest rate of children born dependent, more than twice that number, at 46.2 per 1000 births (Massachusetts Department of Public Health: 2017).

The day’s programs include opening remarks from Massachusetts State Representative Mathew Muratore and Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.  Dr. Elisha Wachman of Boston Medical Center and Dr. Matthew Grossman of Yale University open the programs with a discussion of NAS. Dr. Marilyn Augustyn of Boston Medical Center discusses the long-term developmental outcomes for children with NAS. Meghann Perry, Certified Addiction Recovery Specialist (CARC) and Julie Maida of Sober Mommies discuss parenting while in recovery. TTMAB’s Lauren Langevin RN, also serving at South Bay Early Intervention and SENSE discusses early intervention and NAS. Ed Jacoubs MSW, LICSW with the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office presents on trauma informed care. A Caregiver’s Panel offers insight with adoptive and foster parents and grandparents discussing raising children with NAS.  A session on Occupational Therapy: Sensory Processing & NAS is offered by Jan Delaney, MS, OTR/L at South Shore Therapies and more.

TTMAB also recently released its resource book for those affected by Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).  “The Caregiver’s Guide To NAS & Beyond” was developed for families on the South Shore that are caring for substance exposed children, the first of its kind. 

Initially launched as a peer-to-peer support group for caregivers in 2017, To The Moon And Back’s leadership immediately recognized the struggle to find appropriate resources and support as a global issue for affected families.  Foster and adoptive parents, relative and non-relative caregivers experienced similar long-term consequence of their affected children’s exposure. 

Tickets to attend are $35, including continental breakfast and lunch, available at, a registration packet is available at .  For more information, email Theresa Harmon at or Lauren Langevin at For more information on To The Moon and Back or to donate, visit, and follow To The Moon and Back on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @tothemoonma.

About To The Moon and Back, Inc.

Founded as a 501(c)(3) Massachusetts-based non-profit in 2018, To The Moon and Back, Inc. (TTMAB) is an advocacy organization founded by Theresa Harmon, MSW, LICSW.  The organization is dedicated to supporting children born substance exposed and their caregivers. TTMAB provides twice monthly support groups (for foster and adoptive parents, relative and non-relative caregivers) of children born with substance exposure. The organization serves as a welcoming resource for caregivers to connect with their peers. Expert speakers experienced in children with substance exposure are engaged to educate caregivers and inform communities on the latest in research and best practices for this population. Support programs provide a safe place to discuss parenting and share best practices for caring for children with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) or substance exposure with peers. Education programs provide expert speakers and training to industry health providers and social services to help guide the care of those affected. TTMAB is committed to forging one voice as advocates for children.

In alignment with its mission, TTMAB provides advocacy and recommendations to local and state leaders on the unmet needs of the population and gaps in services for children born with exposure as well as their caregivers. The organization is committed to supporting legislation progress that aspires to ensure that children born substance exposed have all the tools needed to thrive.  Initially launched as peer-to-peer group at the Plymouth Recovery Center in 2017, TTMAB has now expanded, serving more of the Eastern seaboard with a new chapter in West Virginia.  For more information, or to donate, visit, and follow To The Moon and Back on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @tothemoonma.

About Substance Exposed Newborns of Southeast MA (SENSE)

The Substance Exposed Newborns Southeast (SENSE) Committee is a community-based coalition, made up of local providers from various agencies including Southcoast Hospital Group, The Department of Children and Families, Institute of Health & Recovery, Clean Slate, WIC (Women, Infants and Children), Early Head Start and Head Start, and more.

The mission of the SENSE Committee is to identify the needs in our community for newborns born with substance exposure and their families, impacted by substance use, and to create linkages to the available resources that can meet those needs.

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