Drug use now a leading cause of maternal deaths in Florida

Drug-related deaths are the leading cause of death to mothers  during pregnancy or  within one year afterwards in Florida, according to the state Pregnancy-associated Mortality Review (PAMR). Drug use deaths account for 1 in 4 of of maternal deaths during and within one year following pregnancy in the state.

PAMR released an urgent message to health care providers and hospitals, stating that they are the first health care contact for most mothers with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and need to lead the effort to screen, assess, and refer these mothers as well as providing for their obstetrical needs.

PAMR released recommendations, including:

  • Screen all pregnant women for OUD during prenatal care and at
    the time of delivery using a validated verbal or written screening
    tool
  • Be prepared to counsel women regarding opioid use during
    pregnancy and postpartum in a non-judgmental way.
  • A plan of safe care should be developed during prenatal care with
    input from all involved including prenatal care providers,
    community support services, and medication-assisted treatment
    providers.
  • Provide direct referrals for medication-assisted treatment and/or other
    community support services. Connecting and supporting treatment with rehabilitation
    specialists is essential to maintaining these patients in obstetrical care.
  • Before discharge, ensure the mother has a safe discharge plan:
    schedule postpartum mothers for early postpartum follow-up visits,
    medication-assisted treatment, and other needed services.
  • Coordinate with the pediatric team caring for the infant as this is
    essential to ensure that both mom and baby can receive the
    necessary coordinated services in the hospital and at discharge.
    When possible, encourage prenatal contact/consult.