Medications for opioid use disorder in pregnancy in a state women's prison facility.

Research paper by Andrea K AK Knittel, Samantha S Zarnick, John M JM Thorp, Elton E Amos, Hendree E HE Jones

Indexed on: 20 Jul '20Published on: 20 Jul '20Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence


Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) improves both maternal and neonatal outcomes for pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD). Although correctional policies often state that incarcerated pregnant women with OUD should receive MOUD, implementation data is scant. Our aims were to 1) quantify the extent to which pregnant women in a Southeastern prison received MOUD during their incarceration; 2) to describe the medications and doses used during incarceration and frequency of MOUD referral after incarceration; and 3) identify associations between maternal characteristics and receipt of MOUD in order to identify points of intervention for clinical policy change. We conducted a retrospective chart review of pregnant women with OUD in a North Carolina state women's prison from 2016-2018. We collected MOUD, demographic, custody, pregnancy, and pre-incarceration substance use data. We used descriptive statistics, chi square tests, and logistic regression. There were 179 pregnant women with OUD. During incarceration, 11.7 % received buprenorphine, 17.8 % methadone, 22.8 % oxycodone, and 47.8 % did not receive any opioid medications. Of those who received buprenorphine, methadone, and no MOUD, respectively, 65 %, 51.2 %, and 3.2 % were referred for community MOUD. Women were more likely to receive MOUD during incarceration if they had received MOUD pre-incarceration. There was significant unmet need for MOUD and MOUD referral among pregnant women imprisoned in North Carolina from 2016-2018. Our findings suggest that the initial assessment for MOUD and referral to a community MOUD provider may represent opportunities to improve MOUD access for this population. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.