Feasibility of Maintenance Therapy in Pregnancy among Opioid Users in Tribal Communities

Project Term: 12 months; Ended 2017
Grant Amount: $25,000

This planning grant investigated the feasibility of providing medication-assisted treatment for women on the Blackfeet Reservation who are using opioids during pregnancy. This treatment is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as an evidence-based standard of care because it can prevent maternal and fetal complications of opioid use and withdrawal, encourage prenatal care and drug treatment, and reduce social complications and criminal activity associated with addiction.

The grantee organized a conference on Blackfeet that was attended by more than 90 people. Speakers included clinicians from the Blackfeet Community Hospital, members of the Lummi Tribe, and a neonatologist from Kalispell Regional Medical Center. The conference and feedback from participants were used to generate a final report: Addressing Opioid Use in Pregnancy: Conversations and Next Steps in Blackfeet.

Following the conference, members of the Blackfeet Tribe visited the Lummi Opioid Prevention and Treatment Center in WA and were inspired to consider creating a similar program on Blackfeet. They formed an opioid prevention task force which includes employees of the Blackfeet Community Hospital, Silent Warriors, Blackfeet Tribal Health, Blackfeet Community College, and other stakeholders. This task force and their opioid prevention work will continue in 2017 with new foundation funding.

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