CDC: More pregnant women using opioids

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STONY BROOK -

The number of pregnant women using opioids more than quadrupled since 1999, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

David Garry, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Stony Brook Medicine, says Suffolk County has seen a growing opioid epidemic.

"We have quite a number of women out here who have been exposed to opioids during pregnancy," he says. "Here, in suburban to rural Suffolk County, as well as upstate New York, are the areas that are affected the most by opioid use."

In 2016, Stony Brook Medicine created the "Maternal Opioid Maintenance Support," or MOMS, program. It offers pregnant women care for opioid addiction and is the first and only program of its kind in the county. The hospital says it hopes it can contribute to decreasing the prevalence of pregnant women addicted to opioids.

"It's all about trying to minimize the exposure to the baby," Garry says.

Opioid use disorder during pregnancy is linked to serious health complications, including maternal death and babies born in withdrawal from drugs to which they were exposed in the womb. Some drug treatment experts believe some mothers want help but are afraid to admit they're struggling.

"We fear young women are not seeking out drug treatment when they're pregnant, not seeking prenatal care if they're carrying an opiate-dependent, and, as a result, we're seeing the increase of opiate born infants," says Steve Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

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