BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s Health Department has received $3.6 million in federal funding to address opioid use among pregnant and new mothers.

Health officials said their newest initiative is about increasing support and improving care for expecting moms struggling with opioid addiction.

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Last year, Baltimore residents Therika Summons and Akiem Carwell struggled with opioid use just before they had their daughter.

“My daughter, like I said, she was born prematurely due to opioid addiction and problems with being pregnant,” Carwell said.

Fortunately, both Summons and Carwell got help during the pregnancy through state and local programs.

“Because of the state I was able to have a baby,” Summons said. “Her prematurity was literally the really only negative effect of it. She was literally born healthy, not addicted.”

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Both Summons and Carwell said they’re very happy to hear that Maryland is now launching an initiative to further help pregnant and postpartum women who use opioids.

It’s called the Maternal Opioid Misuse Model — or MOM for short — and using federal funding, the state will put together more tools for women and families.

“It’s focused on, once we identify them, how can we improve the care that they receive through their pregnancy,” Tricia Roddy, of the Maryland Department of Health, said. “Then ensuring that they have better outcomes so that you’re tracking those children into adulthood.”

Health department officials said the initiative will educate providers on how to help moms who are struggling with opioid use. It will also improve coordination between health care organizations that serve pregnant and postpartum women, as well as create additional technology to connect expecting moms with providers.

This program will be carried out over the next five years.

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Maryland is one of 10 states that has received the funding.

Stetson Miller