News & Events

Mothers, Babies Overlooked in the Drug Crisis

Pregnant women who are addicted to opioids often struggle to access treatment and services, and their challenges have received relatively little attention despite being a targeted group in the nation's response to the opioid epidemic. Now, doctors say the emerging problem of polysubstance use – when people use more than one type of drug, such as opioids and methamphetamine – is being overlooked among pregnant women, with unknown long-term consequences for mothers and babies alike.

Tennessee Receives Grant from Federal Government to Address Opioid Crisis

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that Tennessee is one of 10 states to receive the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model grant. The purpose of this Model is to assist states in combating the nation’s opioid crisis and address fragmentation in the care of pregnant and postpartum Medicaid beneficiaries with opioid use disorder (OUD).

Opioid Litigation and Maternal-Child Health—Investing in the Future

Long-term structural investments beginning in pregnancy and extending through early childhood will pay societal dividends for generations to come. Settlements from the lawsuits filed against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and prescribers should preferentially invest in pregnant women and infants prenatally, at birth, and throughout the first year.

Many States Prosecute Pregnant Women for Drug Use. New Research Says That’s a Bad Idea.

In November, a California woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby and admitted to using methamphetamine while she was pregnant was charged with murder. The case touched a nerve, igniting a debate over whether mothers should be held accountable for their drug use or treated with compassion for their addictions.

Project seeks to enhance opioid care for infants

The number of opioid-exposed infants who were connected, along with their families, to outside resources upon discharge from the hospital surged in a recent six-month pilot. The initiative tracked the effect of a checklist designed to streamline and prioritize referrals among an infant’s hospital care team, according to a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study.

Team Hope collects 35 pounds of medication at ‘Take Back Day’ event

About 35 pounds of over-the-counter and prescription medication were collected on April 12 at a Drug Take Back event hosted by Team Hope, in collaboration with the Tennessee Poison Center and Vanderbilt University Police Department. Team Hope will host another take back event in October, continuing its initiative to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way of disposing of prescriptions, educate the public about medication abuse, and raise awareness about permanent collection boxes around campus.

Opioid-dependent newborns in my West Virginia hometown point to a path out of drug crisis

Higher rates of newborn drug withdrawal shadowed communities experiencing economic decline. Solving the opioid crisis involves more than health care. On a recent fall day, I became reacquainted with the unmistakable beauty of my West Virginia hometown. Bluefield is tucked in a valley with Big Walker Mountain setting its southeastern border, and nearly everywhere you look is breathtaking.

Tennessee Issues First Maternal Mortality Report

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health today issued the first Maternal Mortality Review report, Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review of 2017 Maternal Deaths. This report describes the state of maternal mortality in Tennessee based on a comprehensive review of deaths of women who died while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy. The goal of this effort by the Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review Committee is to identify opportunities for preventing maternal deaths and promoting women’s health.