Troubling statistics have been brought to light regarding Missouri’s opioid crisis.

A task force is reviewing Missouri’s pregnancy related death rate. Sarah Ehrhard Reid is from the Office on Women’s Health Chief for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). She testified to the Missouri House’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Task Force that there are major concerns when reviewing opioid-related pregnancy deaths.

“We know from our report that black moms are more likely to die than white moms and moms on Medicaid are more likely to die than those with private insurance,” Reid said.

She said data also shows that annually, an average of 61 Missouri women dies while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy, giving Missouri the 7th highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S.

“The primary cause for pregnancy related and associated deaths is maternal mental health concerns, which includes opioid use disorder, substance use disorder, and some of the other concerns that you all have as a committee,” she said.

Her office is developing protocols for screening, treatment, and prevention, among moms and addressing urgent needs for reviewing pregnancy associated and pregnancy-related deaths.

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