The New York State Health Department has launched a campaign to raise awareness around addiction treatment services available to pregnant women. The health department wants women to know “it's OK to ask for help” and that their doctors can help treat addiction.
More than a quarter of reproductive-age women nationally fill a prescription for an opioid from a pharmacy each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription opioids are a common way for people to become dependent on the drugs and start using opioids illicitly.
Babies born to women who have used opioids while pregnant are at risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome, which can result in seizures and difficulty feeding. Diagnoses of that syndrome increased more than fivefold between 2004 and 2014.
The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services oversees 40 residential addiction treatment programs in New York dedicated specifically to women, including several in Western New York. The health department will be distributing fact sheets and posters with treatment information to community centers and OB/GYN offices in the coming weeks.