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Help for Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder

February 21, 2019

Services Will Now Include the Vulnerable Post-partum Period The EMPOWER program at The Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, a community-based program that serves women with opioid use disorder (OUD) during pregnancy and birth, has received a $1 million federal grant.

The new funding will allow the program to expand its support to women during the post-partum period when, according to Linda Jablonski, assistant nurse manager at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, they are vulnerable to depression and relapse.

"No One's a Lost Cause"

Former patient Sandi Cardaropoli talks about her heroin addiction and recovery, and how the EMPOWER program helped her.

Ms. Cardaropoli, now a doula who assists pregnant and birthing women, has a message.

"You don't have to die an addict, you can get help."

EMPOWER is partnering with the Center for Human Development, a non-profit provider of social and mental health services in western Massachusetts, which will provide additional behavioral health services. EMPOWER clients will receive peer counseling from recovery coaches—other women with lived experience, are in recovery, and are trained to work with women with OUD.

According to the 2015 Health Policy Commission report, the Birthplace at Baystate Franklin Medical Center had the second highest neonatal abstinence syndrome rate in western Massachusetts and the eighth highest in the state.

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