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Caring for Mothers Struggling with Opioid Use Disorder—New SAMHSA Fact Sheets

September 21, 2018

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) this week announced the release of four fact sheets emphasizing the importance of continuing an expectant mother's treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) throughout pregnancy. 

These 2-page fact sheets are designed to provide consumers and patients, as well as a wide variety of health care professionals, with guidelines and expectations around treating OUD during and after pregnancy, specifically:

  • Do's and don'ts to keep mother and baby healthy during pregnancy
  • The management of OUD, with a treatment plan that includes medicines and counseling
  • Expectations after the birth of a baby with prenatal exposure to opioids, including through OUD medicine; information about neonatal abstinence syndrome; and considerations to address before hospital discharge 
  • The ongoing management of a mother’s OUD after her baby’s birth, caring for her baby, and do’s and don’ts for creating a healthy environment at home

These fact sheets are companions to SAMHSA’s in-depth “Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants.” The 165-page guide provides comprehensive, national guidance for optimal management of pregnant and parenting women with OUD and their infants.

HAP applauds SAMHSA’s continued attention to this growing issue. Since January 10, 2018, Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems have identified and reported nearly 1500 infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

As part of Pennsylvania’s Multi-Disciplinary Workgroup on Infants with Substance Exposure (MDWISE), HAP is working collaboratively with other stakeholders to support infants and families impacted by OUD.

MDWISE is currently developing practice, communication, and information-sharing procedures designed to integrate the state’s health care, child, and family-focused service delivery systems. This fall, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services will publish these guidelines to assist in:

  • Identifying and assessing infants born affected by prenatal drug exposure or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Developing Plans of Safe Care for these infants

For more information, contact Jennifer Jordan, HAP’s vice president, regulatory advocacy.

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