The WV Perinatal Partnership was awarded half a million dollars to help its Drug Free Moms & Babies Program better serve the state’s pregnant women, new mothers and women of reproductive age who have substance use disorders.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded approximately $25 million to 80 award recipients (including the WV Perinatal Partnership) across 36 states and two territories as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP).
West Virginia has the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the nation – more than double the rate of the United States as a whole – at 51.5 per 100,000 residents in 2018. And substance use in pregnancy has long been identified by WV healthcare professionals as a major factor contributing to poor health outcomes for mothers and babies, according to Janine Breyel, WVPP Substance Use During Pregnancy Project Director.
“I am so thrilled that the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership received this grant to expand initiatives to improve services for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders, particularly through our Drug Free Moms and Babies program,” Breyel said. “Women, especially those who live in rural areas, face many challenges finding the help they need and we are excited to partner with Greenbrier Physicians, Women’s HealthCare at Davis Medical Center, and the West Virginia Osteopathic School of Medicine to work on finding solutions to these challenges.”
The funding will support services for assisting pregnant women, new mothers, and women of reproductive age with substance abuse disorders. “Greenbrier Physicians, Women’s HealthCare at Davis Medical Center, and the WV School of Osteopathic Medicine have all shown leadership and dedication to serving at-risk women and their families, and we are fortunate to be working with them as we focus our efforts to improve systems of care for women and infants living in Greenbrier, Pocahontas and Randolph counties,” Breyel said.
HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) awarded nearly $15 million to 30 award recipients through the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (RCORP-NAS). Each recipient will receive up to $500,000 over three-years to reduce the incidence and impact of neonatal abstinence syndrome in rural communities by improving systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health.
The work of the WV Perinatal Partnership is centered on the goal of improving health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies in West Virginia. RCORP is a multi-year HRSA initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities.
“The Trump Administration continues to provide historic levels of support for Americans with substance use disorders, especially those in rural areas, because the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t put a pause on our country’s opioid crisis,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These grants are part of the Rural Action Plan that HHS launched in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on rural health, which lays out a path forward to transform and improve rural healthcare in tangible ways.”
To learn about HRSA-supported resources, visit HRSA’s Opioid Crisis page.
For more information about the national opioid crisis, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/.