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Jordan Valley Increasing Awareness, Treatment For Expecting Mothers Dealing With Substance Abuse

Billy Long, Matthew Stinson, Chip Wolf
Scott Harvey

Amid a rise in substance abuse among prenatal patients, Springfield's Jordan Valley Community Health Center is expanding its focus on outreach and treatment. A grant awarded this summer is currently allowing treatment of five women dealing with substance abuse.

Officials with the Health Center shared its latest efforts Thursday with Republican Congressmen Billy Long of Missouri’s 7th District. He praised Jordan Valley for counseling expectant mothers whose children may be addicted to drugs before they’re even born.

“People wanna take care of their kids, whether they’re on drugs or not, and if you can look ‘em in the eye and say ‘Hey you need help, we can help you,’ I think it’s vitally important.”

The Substance Abuse Expansion grant helped create a partnership between Jordan Valley and Preferred Family Healthcare, which has been treating behavioral health and substance use disorders for nearly 30 years. The grant provides one behavioral health consultant (BHC) that specializes in substance abuse intervention. The BHC works extensively with Preferred Family Healthcare to locate appropriate resources for each prenatal patient struggling to overcome addiction.

At this week’s meeting, Behavioral Health Consultant Chip Wolf shared that outreach efforts have in part sought to inform potential patients that Jordan Valley is a safe place to receive help.

Dr. Matthew Stinson is vice president of Medical and Behavioral Health Services at Jordan Valley. He discussed consistent observations of new mothers addicted to opiates. Other officials talked about the need for more public education on substance abuse, noting some women addicted to drugs won’t bring their child in for prenatal care until he/she is well into their toddler years.

Stinson notes that when pregnant women dealing with substance abuse understand the danger it poses for their children, they’re willing to make some important changes.

Long said much attention is being paid at the federal level to substance abuse, particularly the nation’s opioid epidemic. The 21st Century Cures Act aims to expedite the process of getting treatments and cures from the lab to the patients. It was passed by the U.S. House last year.

“There’s 10,000 diseases and only 500 cures. We got that passed out of the House; that’s sitting in the Senate right now,” said Long.

The legislation would increase National Institutes of Health funding by $10 billion over five years; plus create a special fund for basic, translational, and clinical research at the NIH; among other provisions.  

Long adds that in his visits throughout the district and even through personal relationships he’s come to understand the severity of the opioid issue.

“Most of my friends have 20-year-old kids; 20-something, and three of them have lost children in the last two years to opioid addiction. And that didn’t happen when I was growing up. It’s something that our society needs to address.”