FARMINGTON — 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, facts 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 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; and
- improving coordination with community recovery resources through referrals for these services.
Patients of Franklin Health Women’s Care can 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, said in a news release from the hospital. “Eighteen percent of maternal mortality in the first 12 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 12 months after giving birth occurred in women without identified opioid use disorder (OUD).”
Dr. Naliboff said, “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, also is involved in the project by providing information on substance use and recovery resources, OUD anti stigma trainings, and peer recovery coaching. For more information call McCarthy at 207-779-2463.