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Colorado clinic helps pregnant women seeking treatment for opioid addiction

Overdose risk for pregnant women surged during pandemic
Opioid pregnancy Front Range Clinic Nicole Brady December 15, 2023.jpg
Posted at 3:21 PM, Dec 15, 2023

AURORA, Colo. — Every expectant mother worries about having a healthy baby, but for a woman battling an addiction, the beginning of pregnancy comes with terrifying risks. From 2018 to 2021, the rate of overdose deaths for pregnant and postpartum women tripled, to more than 15 per 100,000 women.

Stigma surrounding a mother and drug addiction is an ongoing barrier, leading to many women not seeking treatment. Front Range Clinic Chief Clinical Officer Steve Carleton said many women believe seeking treatment will get the legal system involved.

“I think a lot of women out there are afraid that if they come in they're going to get their babies taken away from them, and that's not the case in Colorado,” Carleton said.

One Front Range Clinic patient who did not want to be identified shared her story with Denver7. She became addicted to painkillers after an accident 13 years ago, and eventually was using Heroin. She was forced to turn over custody of her three children to her mother. Then four years ago, she found out she was pregnant again.

“I just decided right then and there, I’m not going to lose another child,” she said.

Front Range Clinic helped her get on Suboxone while she was pregnant. She delivered a healthy baby boy, who is now 4 years old.

Suboxone is safe to receive during pregnancy. While Methadone may be used safely as well, it can lead to more withdrawal symptoms for the baby.

Carleton said Front Range Clinic can provide immediate treatment for people struggling with opioid dependency, including pregnant women.

“If you can help a mother stabilize and get into integrated care and get some support it's just going to be better for mother and child,” he said.

Colorado clinic helps pregnant women seeking treatment for opioid addiction