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State launches perinatal drug and alcohol use initiative

Posted at 9:03 AM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 11:05:58-04

HELENA – The Montana Healthcare Foundation and the state have launched a new program aimed at reducing drug and alcohol use in pregnant women, new mothers and families.

The three-step plan provides support and care throughout a woman’s pregnancy and includes screening, counseling or higher levels of care if needed.

Care coordinators can then address social issues ranging from transportation and family violence.

The final step includes making a plan with a peer recovery coach and other community support teams.

The Montana Healthcare Foundation says last year they found just 6% of state-licensed substance abuse programs treated pregnant women and young families.

Aaron Wernham, the CEO of Montana Healthcare Foundation says “we got a lot of the hospital that deliver babies in this state recognizing this is a very important issue, and you know, very committed to taking it on. It’s a way of supporting people and making sure that they are they have a very successful pregnancy. It’s very common, it’s a chronic medical illness, but it is going to take some time.”

Aaron also stated they have seen other states implement this plan, and it has been helpful in lowering the rates of drug and alcohol use during and after pregnancy.

Community teams are in place to help align further care if need be after a pregnancy, such as but not limited to Child Protective Services and critical justice agencies.