Stoneleigh Fellow Meredith Matone announced her team’s new pilot project to examine opioid prescriptions, and subsequent misuse, among young, low-income mothers shortly after childbirth.
Philadelphia, like many communities nationwide, has been deeply impacted by the country’s opioid epidemic. From what we now know, the roots of this crisis, in part, stem from increased prescribing of opioids to patients with acute or painful injuries. One medical event that we tend to overlook in conversations about opioid prescribing is childbirth. Early evidence suggests that as many as 90 percent of women who have C-sections and 12 percent of women who deliver vaginally receive an opioid prescription. This exposure to opioids places them at risk for transitioning to inappropriate use of opioids following the birth of their child, particularly for populations at higher risk of substance use disorders. However, we don’t yet know the reality of the impact of postpartum exposure to opioids and later misuse of these drugs.