The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a report detailing its plan to treat substance use disorders in pregnant individuals, according to The New York Times.
ONDCP plans to use federal courts and health programs to expand the use of medicines to treat addiction in pregnant individuals. Under the plan, the Justice Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service will be responsible for improving women’s access to medicines like buprenorphine and methadone.
The report notes that pregnant women with substance use disorders are 17% less likely to be accepted for opioid use disorder treatment appointments by outpatient buprenorphine providers compared to non-pregnant women. Access to treatment is even more challenging for pregnant individuals with substance use disorders of certain races and geographies, the report states.
ONDCP, in a press release, said medicines for opioid use disorder reduce risk of relapse and death for pregnant and postpartum women and improve pregnancy outcomes, making it more likely that babies will be born at term, rather than prematurely.