Program helps pregnant women with opioid addiction

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Pregnant women battling a history of opioid use are getting new hope thanks to a Spectrum Health program.

It's called G.R.E.A.T. Moms, which stands for Grand Rapids Encompassing Addiction Treatment with Maternal Obstetrics Management. It started as a pilot program a year ago and will now be offered long term.

"I'm honestly not sure what we would've done if we hadn't found this program," Elizabeth Visniski, a mother in Greenville, said. "I am proud of myself now and I can't remember the last time that I could say that."

Her battle with opioid addiction began 10 years ago, well before her 6-month old son Silas was born.

"I sort of got into this mess because a doctor prescribed me a medication that maybe I didn't really need; maybe I needed it temporarily," Visniski told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.

She said she knew she couldn't keep taking several pills a day. That's where help from Spectrum Health came in.

"We're here to support women throughout their journey," Dr. Kara Poland, the addiction medicine specialist working with G.R.E.A.T. Moms, said. "Whether you're actively using or in a stage of recovery, we're here for women that are in all stages of addiction."

The program uses medication-assisted treatment, which means its patients keep taking a regulated dosage of an opioid during their pregnancies. Poland explained that research shows stopping opioid use when pregnant places women at high risk of losing their babies.



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