International Expert on Opioid Use Disorder During Pregnancy to Speak at MAHEC

November 6, 2017

Substance Use Treatment Program Director Will Address Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Women & Children

Asheville, NC—On Monday, November 13, Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) will welcome
Dr. Hendrée Jones from UNC Chapel Hill to discuss strategies for improving health outcomes for women with opioid use disorder during pregnancy.

Dr. Jones is an internationally recognized expert in the development and examination of both behavioral and pharmacologic treatments for pregnant women and their children in risky life situations. She directs UNC Horizons at the UNC School of Medicine, a comprehensive drug treatment program for pregnant and parenting women and their drug-exposed children. Her research is used around the world as a model for treating women with substance use disorders and their children.

MAHEC’s perinatal substance use disorder treatment program, Project CARA, has contracted with UNC Horizons for technical assistance to support the program’s growth and development. Project CARA has doubled in size over the past year and is on track to support approximately 400 pregnancies this year.

“We’re excited to work with UNC Horizons,” shares Carol Coulson, MD, head of maternal-fetal medicine at MAHEC Ob/Gyn Specialists and medical director for Project CARA. “Their program has been running continuously for more than 20 years. They have developed a robust set of services to support moms with substance use disorders and their babies. They’ve been where we are right now, and we’re excited to learn from their experience.”

The Horizons program, which started in 1993, provides comprehensive recovery and relapse prevention services for pregnant and parenting women and their children including prenatal care and addiction treatment, trauma-informed recovery practices, residential services and outpatient treatment, career counseling, housing assistance, case management, family therapy, child care, and medication-assisted treatment for women with opioid dependence.

Project CARA, housed at MAHEC’s Ob/Gyn Specialists in Asheville, provides prenatal care, high-risk pregnancy support, behavioral and medication-assisted therapy, intensive recovery services through Women’s Recovery Center and Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center, and care coordination with Mission’s Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome delivery preparation team and Buncombe County Department of Social Services.

“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with MAHEC and the Project CARA team to find new and creative ways to improve the treatment and outcomes of women and children in the western part of our state who are exposed to substances,” notes Dr. Jones, “especially opioids.”

Dr. Jones will share her expertise and recommendations for advancing women’s perinatal recovery health with Project CARA staff, community partners, and public officials during an interactive presentation from 9:00 am to 11:00 am on MAHEC’s Biltmore Campus. For more information about Project CARA, contact 828-771-5500.

The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was established in 1974 and is a leader in healthcare, education and innovation. Located in Asheville, MAHEC serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. It is the largest Area Health Education Center in North Carolina, which evolved to address national and state concerns with the supply, retention and quality of health professionals. MAHEC’s mission is to train the next generation of healthcare professionals for Western North Carolina through quality healthcare, innovative education, and best practice models that can be replicated nationally. For more information on MAHEC, visit www.mahec.net.

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