Wolf admin directs federal grant dollars to services for pregnant Pennsylvanians with addiction

The funding is part of $55M in federal money awarded to Pennsylvania, according to DDAP

By: - February 23, 2022 5:04 pm
Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith

Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs Secretary Jen Smith (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

HARRISBURG – An influx of federal grant funding is being used to provide and expand support services for pregnant and postpartum Pennsylvanians with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), state officials said Wednesday. 

Speaking from Counseling Management Services, a Harrisburg-based organization that connects therapists and clients, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jen Smith said CMS was the recipient of about $600,000 in federal grant funding to “provide pregnancy support services and facilitate or make referrals for outpatient Medication-Assisted Treatment and SUD treatment facilities.”

Eleven other providers and support organizations have received similar grant funding for pregnancy and postpartum support, ranging from more than $290,000 to $600,000, according to DDAP data. 

“Case management services and early intervention for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders are critical to the family’s stability, health, and overall well being,”  Smith said. “The disease of addiction too often negatively impacts entire families, and the services provided through this funding are helping to build stronger families which will in turn create stronger communities for generations to come.”

Smith said that the number of pregnant people with substance use disorder has “continually increased” over the last decade, adding that barriers to access, and the stigma of SUD make it “even more difficult” for pregnant people to receive treatment.

While specific to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), a 2018 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the number of pregnant people at labor and delivery with OUD “more than quadrupled” from 1999 to 2014.

The national prevalence rate of OUD increased from 1.5 per-1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 1999 to 6.5 per-1,000 in 2014, according to CDC data. 

The federal funding is part of “$55 million in federal Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funding awarded to Pennsylvania through its Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards,” according to a statement from DDAP. 

Smith told reporters that she expects federal dollars to continue to support pregnant and postpartum support services through similar grants in the near future. 

In late 2020, DDAP announced that $2.9 million was awarded to nine organizations that provide “evidence-based SUD treatment, specialty medical and behavioral healthcare, and case management services related to employment, childcare, and transportation.”

The grantees, DDAP said in a statement, served more than 85 patients across 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. 

“Since the beginning of this funding cycle in October 2021, CMS has served 36 new clients across all locations. In this time, we have had 11 babies born, with another three clients expecting,” CMS Director of Grant Funded Programs, Kendell Jones said. “We have forged great partnerships with law enforcement, corrections, and other community agencies to facilitate a person-centered approach to care for these ladies. I’m honored to be working alongside a team who continues to rise to the challenges and support this priority population, day in and day out, in an ever-changing landscape of a worldwide pandemic.”

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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