FRANKFORT, KY – Governor Steve Beshear announced today that Kentucky will receive up to $3 million in federal grants over three years to provide expanded substance abuse treatment for opiate-dependent pregnant and postpartum women from the Bluegrass and Cumberland regions of the state.
“State leaders must do everything we can do to stop the pain drug abuse is having on Kentuckians and their families every single day, especially when it impacts mothers and their babies,” Gov. Beshear said. “Pregnant women who use heroin or other opiates during pregnancy have a significant risk of adverse outcomes for themselves and their babies. This important pilot project will allow us to improve access to treatment and support for pregnant women in two of the areas of our state hardest hit by substance abuse issues.”
Kentucky is one of 11 states selected by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive this new grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of an initiative to increase access to substance use disorder treatment services.
Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) will receive up to $3 million over three years from the grant, which it will use to build upon and expand current efforts to provide access to individualized, evidence-based substance use disorder treatment for these pregnant women, including medication-assisted therapies.
With the grant, officials hope to reduce the number of Kentucky newborns who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) or neonatal opiate withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) by identifying opiate-addicted pregnant women and engaging them in treatment prior to delivery.
Kentucky hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns soared in the last year, from 955 in 2013 to 1,409 in 2014, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.
The grant will also allow for the development of important links between providers of pregnancy care and the substance abuse treatment community. The grant also provides an opportunity to pilot a health home model for this specific population. Health home is a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows programs to target individuals with specific chronic conditions for the coordination of services through a primary provider to ensure better health outcomes. An independent evaluation will examine maternal and infant outcomes as a result of the program.
“We continue to pursue new opportunities and strategies to strengthen the substance abuse treatment options available in Kentucky,” said Mary Reinle Begley, commissioner of DBHDID. “This federal funding will allow us to make a significant impact in the lives of Kentucky’s pregnant women who struggle with substance abuse issues, setting them on a path toward long-term recovery and healthier outcomes for not just them but their children.”
The grant is in addition to funding of up to $1 million recently announced by Gov. Beshear to address neonatal abstinence syndrome by assisting with transitional care and wrap-around services. That funding was part of an appropriation of up to $10 million contained in this year’s Senate Bill 192 for programs to curb the rise in heroin use and opioid addiction.
The federal government is making the new grant funding available to states and community health centers to expand the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based, comprehensive way to address the needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.
“For those Americans who have fallen into opioid addiction and dependency, we can make the greatest impact by helping them move into recovery,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “This funding will expand access to medication-assisted treatment and help states and community health centers continue to improve their responses to the opioid epidemic.”
For more information on the SAMHSA grant awards, visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/awards/mat-pdoa. And for more information on the HHS Secretary’s Opioid Initiative, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/sp/reports/2015/OpioidInitiative/ib_OpioidInitiative.cfm