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Maryland receives $3.6M to address opioid crisis’ impact on mothers, children

The Maryland Department of Health has received $3.6 million in federal funding to address opioid use in pregnant and postpartum mothers over the next five years.

In a news release, the department wrote that it has launched the “Maternal Opioid Model," or “MOM,” this month, an initiative that will look to improve substance abuse treatment offered to pregnant and postpartum mothers on Medicaid.

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According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which awarded the grant, the “Maternal Opioid Model” is a national initiative that looks to support “the coordination of clinical care and the integration of other services critical for health, wellbeing, and recovery.”

The funding comes as federal and state officials continue to look to address more of the effects of the opioid crisis, which has claimed the lives of 1,574 people in Maryland this year as of September.

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A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in November found that, after following more than 1 million women who gave birth in California hospitals from 2010 to 2012, drug use was the leading cause of death behind only problems caused by the childbirth itself.

The funding will also look to address pregnant mothers who abuse substances, which is known to have potentially damaging effects on a child’s health while still in the womb.

The $3.6 million will fund the initiative over a five-year period, the department wrote, with an opportunity to gain an additional $1.5 million in funding if it meets certain performance targets.

“The Maryland Department of Health remains committed to ending the opioid crisis, and the MOM model is one very specific but critical approach,” department Secretary Robert R. Neill wrote in a statement.

“By targeting these resources and continuing to align efforts — from the federal level to our local partners — we will increase support for women and families in seeking treatment and finding success in recovery,” he added.

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