Breaking barriers: Detoxing through pregnancy

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Around this time last year, a Knoxville mom found herself addicted to heroin and more than three months pregnant. 

Rachel Solomon was then facing a tough reality about the future of her health and that of her unborn baby, but a University of Tennessee Medical Center Doctor helped get her through.

Dr. Craig Towers is spearheading a program breaking the norm. He detoxed Rachel through her pregnancy.

Solomon just marked a big milestone: Celebrating one year of sobriety in April.

Her baby Brantley, who is almost 8 months old now, was born happy and healthy. Solomon credits this to Dr. Towers. His work, she says, saved her life.

When Solomon found out she was pregnant, she was already caught in the web of addiction. Her drug of choice then was heroin.

“For five years I literally lived where I could. I did what I had to do to get heroin. I’ve done everything you can think of to get that drug,” Solomon said.

Her battle with opioids started nearly two decades prior, getting her hands on Percocet at just 14 years old.

It led Solomon down a path of darkness for several years. Then, she got pregnant. 

She found some light in a high-risk pregnancy doctor.

“I knew that that was God telling me I needed to start a new life. It was either go this way or basically die and kill my baby, too,” she said.

Dr. Towers detoxed Solomon through her pregnancy. He officially launched the program at the end of 2016.

“The con of getting off (the drugs via detox) is the mother’s risk for relapse and overdosing. The pro for doing it is the baby is born not dependent on opiates,” said Dr. Towers.

The UT Medical Center physician is breaking barriers. He says most organizations recommend not to do this while a mom is pregnant, but Towers is clearly passionate.

“I think these women deserve someone to help them out, to trust them, to let them know that they have a choice, that their opinion matters. Because in many places they go, no one wants to deal with them,” he said.

Dr. Towers is continuing to research the subject and preparing to see more than 500 women this year.

“Patients like Rachel make it worthwhile. We don’t succeed all the time, but I think the wins outplay the defeats,” he said.

“I don’t want him to ever stop doing what he’s doing. I want him to save a million other girls like me,” Solomon said.

Solomon is now putting her old life behind her and looking forward to a bright future ahead.

“Brantley, he fills that piece in that was missing for a long time. I lost it a long time ago, and Brantley gave it back to me,” she said.

Solomon says she’s also got a list of goals now she never had before.

Those goals include watching her son grow up, be there the first time he walks and on his first day of kindergarten.

Her life is no longer about seeking out drugs.

If you want to find out how to get involved in this program, you can contact UT Medical Center. The hospital’s main number is 865-305-9000. You can also find more information on their website here. 

MORE ONLINE:

Years of drug abuse wreaked havoc on Solomon’s teeth. At the beginning of April, she was fitted with a new set of dentures thanks to the non-profit organization, Smiles for Hope. The mission recently celebrated a milestone. 

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