Perinatal Illicit Drug Use Task Force
A community that supports healthy moms and healthy babies.
To engage community partners to prevent illicit drug use by women before, during, and after pregnancy.
Task Force Background
Formed in June 2016, the Perinatal Illicit Drug Use Task Force is a collaboration between public, private, and non-profit agencies seeking to prevent illicit drug use by Burnett County women before, during, and after pregnancy. The Task Force meets regularly to identify opportunities for the agencies to collaboratively and independently provide services to women and their families. Through collaboration, the Task Force strives to improve communication, define roles and responsibilities of the various professionals serving this population, and capitalize on resources.
- Burnett County Department of Health and Human Services
- Public Health Unit
- Children and Families Unit
- St. Croix Tribal Health Clinic
- Home Visitation
- Burnett Medical Center
- St. Croix Regional Medical Center
- Family Resource Center
Background of Perinatal Illicit Drug Use
Perinatal illicit drug use is a complex public health concern due to social, cultural, economic, legal, and political contributing factors requiring interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to identify solutions. Identified as a nationwide problem, increasing abstinence from illicit drugs among pregnant women has been selected as one of the objectives of Healthy People 2020. Illicit drugs include illegal drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine and the misuse of prescription medications and other household substances. Accurate measurement of illicit drug use among women in the perinatal period poses challenges due to the stigma associated with illicit drug use during pregnancy and fear of involvement of child protective services.
The physical, mental, and social well-being of mother and child are at risk when illicit drugs are used during in the perinatal period. Fetuses exposed to illicit drugs are at risk for a multitude of health complications including low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and perinatal mortality. Addiction prevents mothers from effectively parenting and providing for their children, which can lead to the removal of custody and family separation. Furthermore, perinatal illicit drug use poses monetary costs to greater society. Patrick et al. (2012) estimate the number of newborns diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome in 2009 to be 9,674 with an average hospital cost of $53,400 per newborn. This suggests an overall cost of $516,591,600 of which $402,424,856 was attributed to state Medicaid programs.
Regardless of past or present drug use, the most important thing that pregnant women can do to protect themselves and their babies is to have regular, ongoing prenatal care. Studies show that regular prenatal care improves the health outcomes of babies born to moms who used drugs during pregnancy, compared to little or no prenatal care. After delivery, moms can get the support and resources they need from home visiting programs offered by the Family Resource Center and St. Croix Tribal Health and Human Services.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome by County of Residence, Wisconsin, 2009-2014 Map (click for map)
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Wisconsin (click for map)