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Overdose Prevention for New Moms

May 02, 2021

Family first aid kit with naloxone provided to all new families

Farmington, Maine – Effective May 1, all patients who give birth at Franklin Memorial Hospital are provided a naloxone first aid kit at discharge from the Family Birthing Unit.

The kit contains naloxone (also called Narcan), a safe medication that reverses opioid overdoses, as well as educational materials, FAQs about opioid overdose, and contact information regarding community recovery resources.

This one-year pilot demonstration project, made possible by the Perinatal Quality Collaborative for Maine (PQC4ME) with a discretionary grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation, will provide education and training to office and obstetrical staff, including medical assistants, nurses, OB/GYNs and a Certified Nurse Midwife.

The goal of the project is to reduce maternal deaths from opioid overdose by:

  • Educating hospital staff and providers on harm reduction, effects of substance use, stigma and discrimination, and overdose prevention
  • Providing naloxone as part of a family first aid kit
  • Improving coordination with community recovery resources through referrals for these services

Patients of Franklin Health Women’s Care can expect to learn more about the project from staff at an upcoming prenatal visit.

“The postpartum period is uniquely stressful and may trigger opioid use or relapse,” said Jay Naliboff, MD, FACOG, project director. “Eighteen percent of maternal mortality in the first twelve months after giving birth in Maine in 2018-19 was due to opioid overdose. Data from a recent Massachusetts study showed half of opioid overdoses in the first twelve months after giving birth occurred in women without identified opioid use disorder (OUD).”

Dr. Naliboff added, “Providing naloxone to all new moms can increase community acceptance of naloxone while reducing the stigma associated with OUD. This approach may save the lives of family members or friends and recognizes the potential for overdose in those without previously identified opioid use.”

Ashley McCarthy, program coordinator at Healthy Community Coalition, is also involved in the project by providing information on substance use and recovery resources, OUD anti stigma trainings, and peer recovery coaching. For more information please call McCarthy at 207-779-2463.

Governor Janet Mills has made combating the opioid crisis in Maine a top priority with a focus on preventing overdose deaths and creating more resources for treatment and recovery. One of the priority areas of the Maine Opioid Response Strategic Action plan is to make sure naloxone is readily available to people in Maine.

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About FCHN
Franklin Community Health Network is a nonprofit, integrated network of rural health care providers, created by Franklin Memorial Hospital in 1991. Its affiliates include Franklin Memorial Hospital, Franklin Health, Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County, and NorthStar EMS. It is a part of the MaineHealth family of local health systems.

About PQC4ME
The PQC4ME is a collaborative of Maine’s physicians, midwives, nurses, and others with an interest in perinatal health who come together to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity through quality improvement initiatives. Projects have included the “Safe Sleep Initiative” and “Eat, Sleep, and Console” for newborns.

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