State, Community Health Launch Opioid Program

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Governor Holcomb announced the program Monday at Community Hospital East. Governor Holcomb announced the program Monday at Community Hospital East.

Governor Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis-based Community Health Network have launched a program designed to address opioid use disorder in mothers. The Community Health Network Neonatal Opioid Addiction Project will also work to treat babies born addicted to opioids.

A more than $570,000 grant from the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration's Department of Mental Health and Addiction is funding the project. The program will begin at Community Hospital East with the goal of expanding to additional Community facilities by the end of the year.

Holcomb's office says the goals of the program include:

  • Conducting screenings for all expectant mothers to identify those who need support for depression or drug use
  • Caring for expectant mothers who test positive for opioids throughout their pregnancies and after their children are born
  • Offering specialized care for newborns exposed to addictive substances
  • Developing a Maternal and Neonatal Center of Excellence for the Treatment of Drug Use Symptoms (TODUS)
  • Enhancing data collection, analysis and reporting on health outcomes, costs and best practices as well as ways to identify and remove barriers to addiction treatment and recovery

"I have never met someone who wants an addiction," said Bryan Mills, chief executive officer of Community Health Network. "In our work to combat opioid addiction among expectant mothers, our goal is simple – healthier mothers and healthier babies. Support from the State will bolster our efforts and help to devise evidence-based best practices that can be replicated across Indiana for the benefit of Hoosier women and children."

The program builds on an Indiana State Department of Health pilot project at Community Hospital East which worked to identify and treat pregnant mothers and babies with substance use disorders. Holcomb's office says in 2016, nearly 46 percent of the hospital's drug screens for expectant mothers were positive, however by the time those women came back to deliver their babies, 55 percent of them tested negative for drug use.

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