For Families

The IMPACT WV project is working to expand resources available to families and improve the quality of services for children impacted by substance use. This page is intended to provide access to resources and tools for families.

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In this video, Raychal shares her story of learning of her pregnancy while using substances. She shares how having a support system of providers has helped to have a safe pregnancy and healthy son. Watch the video to hear how she candidly shares her experiences of barriers and victories.

Questions from Families

According to the American Psychiatric Association, "Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems. Yet a number of effective treatments are available and people can recover from addiction and lead normal, productive lives." Learn more about addiction

Related resources:

Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorder with three steps to access care and five signs of quality treatment from SAMHSA (PDF).

Substance use treatment is provided at different levels of care and is often available in multiple treatment settings. The level of care is determined by severity of problem and use. Inpatient treatment is reserved for those with more serious use or those requiring detox. *Information from an IMPACT WV SBIRT Training by Keigan Aabel-Brown, MSW.

Treatment may include:

  1. Counseling, therapy, and other psychological rehabilitation services
  2. Medications: psychiatric for co-occurring disorders (in conjunction with talk-therapy) or Drug agonist (Buprenorphine) antagonist (naltrexone) therapy
  3. Self-Help or Support Groups (AA, NA, Al-Anon)
  4. Health and Wellness coaching (diet, exercise, meditation)
  5. Combination of the above

According to the March of Dimes, "Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS) is a group of conditions caused when a baby withdraws from certain drugs he's exposed to in the womb before birth. NAS is most often caused when a woman takes drugs called opioids during pregnancy. But it also can be caused by antidepressants (used to treat depression), barbiturates or benzodiazepines (sleeping pills). When you take these drugs during pregnancy, they can pass through the placenta and cause serious problems for your baby. The placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord."

Tips from Cedars Sinai to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.

Alcohol

  • Increases risk of miscarriage or still birth & Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD; organ defects, intellectual limitation, temporary abnormal facial features, smaller head size, & low birth weight)
  • Passes into milk (when you sober up, so does your milk)
  • Harm reduction techniques include talking about alcohol related goals during pregnancy & pumping before drinking

Benzodiazepines

  • Potential increased risk of cleft lip or palate & lower birth weight
  • Newborns have shown withdrawal signs after birth
  • Could increase severity of NAS
  • Babies exposed can show signs of sedation
  • Harm reduction techniques include not quitting cold turkey

Cannabis

  • Some evidence of higher rates of preterm birth than nonusers
  • No evidence of link to stillbirth, preterm labor significantly low birth weight, birth defects, cancer, or feeding problems
  • Roughly 1% passes into human milk

Cocaine/Crack

  • Evidence of decrease blood flow to placenta & link to premature rupture of membranes (PPROM)
  • Some evidence of link to placental abruption
  • No evidence of withdrawal after prenatal exposure

Opioids

  • Not associated w/ any birth defects
  • May change gestational parent's tolerance
  • Newborns have shown withdrawal signs after birth
  • Breastmilk is safe to consume if utilizing MOUD

*The information in this IMPACT WV product was taken from a Community of Practice presentation by Tanagra Melgarejo and Kacey Byczek from the Harm Reduction Coalition.