Physicians Giving Heroin Interventions To Pregnant Women Who Don’t Use Heroin

pregnant-addictionPhysicians in the Syracuse, N.Y. area are planning to take the unusual approach of staging heroin interventions for pregnant women who have never used heroin. Approximately 2.6 percent of all newborns in Onondanga County have some form of drug dependency and half of them are addicted to opiates like heroin, giving the county the highest percentage of babies born addicted to heroin in New York State. The interventions are part of a new program called Screen, Briefing and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), which hopes to prevent women from using heroin rather than treating them once it’s too late.

The program is encouraging every doctor in the county to screen every pregnant woman for drug use. If it appears they are likely to use heroin in the future, the intervention will warn the mothers about what living with a heroin-dependent baby is like, as well as the likely defects such as deformed growth and abnormal brain development. “Putting all of our energy into treating people once they become addicted is an old model,” said Brad Finn, executive director of the Prevention Network. “Instead, how do we move back upstream and catch people before they jump in the river of addictions?”

The pregnant women will answer a series of questions from their doctor or nurse about their drinking and drug use, ultimately receiving a grade based on their responses. If it’s determined that an intervention is necessary, the medical staff will work directly with the patients on reducing their drug use. While a few local doctors and OB-GYNs already use this screening process, the new program is simply hoping to expand that same procedure throughout the county.  Read more “the fix”…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.