Change Indicator

Babies born exposed/affected to substances in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Parental substance use disorder is often a causative factor in families being involved in the child protective system. The child's basic needs for food and safety may not be met in households where substance abuse disorder is present. There may be complications at birth and later in life for the child born drug exposed/affected. 

This data includes babies born exposed or affected by either illicit or prescribed medications.For example, pregnant women may be prescribed Methadone or Buprenorphine to treat their addictions to other substances. For the new born baby, treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can be inpatient or outpatient and can involve either pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic treatments. The data includes when presence of Cannabis or Alcohol is detected in newborn.

What the data shows
The number of babies born drug exposed/affected peaked in 2016. For 2022, there were 692 babies born substance exposed/affected- the lowest number since tracking began in 2012.  In 2022, statewide, the percent of babies born substance exposed/affected was 5.7% or one in seventeen births.

In the latest year, 2022, the number of babies born drug exposed/affected was 10% or higher in 4 of Maine's 16 counties.  The counties with the highest rate of babies born drug affected were:  Androscoggin, 13%, and Aroostook, Oxford and Somerset, all at 10%.  By contrast, in 2022,  Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Hancock and York all had rates st or below 3% or one in twenty-five births.
Washington County experienced the greatest improvement, as in 2021 there were 39 babies born drug exposed/affected and in 2022, there were only 15 reports of babies born substance exposed/affected.

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Definition and Source



This indicator reflects the number of infants born in Maine where a healthcare provider reported to the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) that there was reasonable cause to suspect the baby may be either exposed or affected by illegal substance abuse, demonstrating withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal exposure (illicit or prescribed), or have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. This measure potentially excludes instances where the infant was exposed to substances and did not show withdrawal symptoms after birth, instances where the birth of an infant affected by substances was not reported to OCFS, and any other instances in which there were discrepancies between reporters when interpreting the law. The numerator is the number of babies reported to the Maine Office for Children and Family Services as born drug exposed/affected and the denominator is the number of births in a calendar year in Maine. 

Data Source

Maine Office of Child and Family Services, (OCFS) of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the number of babies born drug exposed/affected in a year. The State of Maine Office of Vital Statistics for the number of births in the same calendar year. Note that the number of births by county in 2022 is still preliminary and will be finalized during 2023.


Please Note:  Substance Exposed Infant referrals to Maine Office of Children and Family Services vary by Reporting Hospitals.

Updated February 2023

Last Updated

February 2023