Motherhood and Addiction: Missouri Cases Have Tripled In Five Years

Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative bringing together community partners to address the crisis

Substance use among pregnant and parenting women is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in greater Kansas City, experts say. Community partners, led by the Mid-America Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) at UMKC, are forming a new Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative to address an issue being driven to new levels by the opioid epidemic.

Missouri had a 358 percent increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome in just five years, between 2011 and 2016. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs when a mother uses drugs in utero or passes the substance through breast milk or the placenta. Infants born with NAS may experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, including mild tremors and irritability, fever, excessive weight loss and seizures.

UMKC Leads the Battle Against Opioid Crisis

The Collaborative was formed to improve care in the bi-state area by increasing coordination among organizations serving mothers and families facing substance use. The group’s first event was June 4.

 “When addiction occurs during motherhood, it affects the whole family and requires a comprehensive and compassionate response,” said Sarah Knopf-Amelung, coordinator of the new Collaborative and senior program coordinator at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies. “We are excited to convene this group of leaders in the bi-state area to help make sure we are doing the best for mothers and their families.”

More than 120 community stakeholders attended, including professionals from child development, child welfare, housing, social services, health care and substance-use disorder treatment and recovery. The agenda featured prominent national, state and local figures including Randall Williams, Missouri director of Health and Senior Services; Steve Corsi, Missouri director of Social Services; Rex Archer, director of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department; and Hendrée Jones, professor and executive director, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Horizons Program.

The kick-off event gave community stakeholders the chance to hear from state leaders and national experts about the best approaches for addressing perinatal substance use and its effects on families. Enthusiasm and knowledge built from the event will lead into a year-long project of shared visioning, strategic planning and action to improve how community organizations coordinate care for families dealing with substance use.

The Kansas City Perinatal Recovery Collaborative, based at UMKC, is led by Mid-America ATTC, a collaboration between Truman Medical Centers Behavioral Health (TMC-BH) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies. Mid-America ATTC is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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