Missouri lawmakers and health professionals are wrestling with Missouri’s substance abuse problem. Doug Burgess, an addiction psychiatry professor at UMKC, tells a legislative task force that one of the big challenges health professionals are dealing with is substance use disorder in pregnancies.

“Addressing substance use disorders in pregnancy is a big one,” Burgess says. “There’s tons of stigma there, lots of providers are afraid to address it during pregnancy or don’t know how to treat it. Recently there was a study in Missouri where they looked at deaths in women during pregnancy and found that 80-85% of them were preventable.”

He cites a study from earlier this year from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which says that substance use disorders was one of the leading cause of deaths, most of those are due to drug overdose, so says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A lot of those are related to Substance Use Disorders, untreated mental conditions, and other psychosocial determinants of health that we know we can treat these things, but it is something that’s going to require some time,” he said.

According to the CDC, almost all pregnancy-associated deaths from drug overdose involve opioids, most include more than one drug.

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