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LAWRENCE

Hospital to aid pregnant women addicted to opiates

With the help of new funding, Lawrence General Hospital will be able to provide added assistance to pregnant women who are addicted to opiates.

The $100,000 grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation will support the hospital’s hiring of “patient navigators” to guide expectant mothers in obtaining the services and taking the other steps needed to ensure healthy outcomes for their pregnancies.

In particular, they will assist them in adhering to a drug treatment program and attending pre-natal care appointments and drug screenings. As needed, they will also help mothers access mental health services, secure transportation to appointments, and connect with other organizations that can provide assistance with food, housing, clothing, and other basic necessities.

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“Women with opioid use disorder have complex medical needs and face multiple challenges in caring for both themselves and their children,” Nicole Garabedian, director of Integrated Care Lawrence General, said in a statement. “Because opiates make one lethargic and unable to focus on even the simplest tasks, the children of women suffering from opioid addiction are at high risk of neglect and other types of abuse.”

To complement the initiative, the hospital also hopes to start a new peer support program in which pregnant mothers with opiate addiction disorders can share experiences, learn new skills, and receive group support.

The new services will build on Lawrence General’s existing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome program, which provides interventions to opioid-exposed newborns and their mothers.


John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.