The Opioid Partnership
The Opioid Partnership is a multi-stakeholder collaboration of organizations and individuals representing clinicians, provider organizations, public health agencies, health plans, employers, community-based organizations, researchers, innovators, and most importantly—mothers and babies—who are working together to advance efforts to prevent and reduce the impact of opioid abuse and exposure on mothers and babies.
The opioid epidemic impacts every segment of society in the U.S., including women and their babies. The number of pregnant women with opioid use disorder at the time of delivery quadrupled from 1999 to 2014.
Opioid use during pregnancy can result in a drug withdrawal syndrome in newborns called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). An estimated 32,000 babies were born with NAS in 2014. One baby is born with signs of NAS every 15 minutes in the U.S., this equates to nearly 100 babies a day.
The consequences of prenatal opioid exposure can be far reaching. In addition to the immediate withdrawal symptoms, babies born with NAS can face cognitive, psychological, behavioral, motor and visual problems, as well as sleep disturbances. The societal implications of widespread chronic prenatal opioid exposure have yet to be determined.
More needs to be done to assist pregnant women and their babies at risk of and struggling with opioid use and exposure. Some of the most immediate barriers to effecting positive change include gaps in research and understanding of the issues, the need for development and sharing of successful practices and lessons learned, and inadequate resources dedicated to this important population with unique needs.
The Opioid Partnership is bringing together experts and stakeholders to prevent and reduce the impact of opioid abuse and exposure on mothers and babies. Key activities include:
- Facilitating information sharing across diverse disciplines and stakeholder groups both nationally and locally;
- Identifying and highlighting the issues of greatest and most immediate need;
- Identifying and raising awareness of both resources and promising, innovative solutions that can be used to address challenges in the field; and
- Gaining agreement on and advancing policies to address challenges.