Best Life: GRACE Program works to save pregnant addicts

Best Life: GRACE Program works to save pregnant addicts

BATON ROUGE, La. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Opioid addiction is an epidemic, gripping people of all backgrounds and ages. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is now born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 15 minutes. But Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge is among the first in the nation to try a new method of changing these statistics.

The moment Courtney Saylor realized she was pregnant, her life changed. At the time, she was addicted to heroin, which put her health and her baby at risk.

“It had become such a way of life that I couldn’t even get out of bed or do my daily activities of life without it in my system,” Saylor shared.

That’s when she enrolled herself in the GRACE Program at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. Many hospitals provide medication-based treatment, the GRACE Program provides participants an extra layer of accountability by assigning them a nurse and a social worker and connecting them with outside resources.

Kiona Hayes, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, GRACE Program Case Manager at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge said, “We’re finally understanding that addiction is a disease of the brain, and being able to relate that to actual disease, makes it easier for us to understand how to treat.”

Now, one year after launch, Woman’s Hospital says they’re seeing results. While untreated substance use in pregnancy can lead to preterm birth and low birthweight, 93 percent of infants in the GRACE Program were born at term, and they were born almost three quarters of a pound heavier than babies of mothers with opioid use disorder who didn’t participate.

“I mean that’s why we do this,” Hayes stated.

Saylor stuck to the program without relapse and welcomed a perfectly healthy daughter born on the fourth of July.

“She’s a little firecracker,” Saylor said about her baby.

Her daughter gave her a reason for recovery. She says the GRACE Program showed her the way.

The GRACE Program is one of a few of its kind in the U.S. They said they modeled themselves after a similar program in Cincinnati and they are working to become a model for other hospitals to treat pregnant women with opioid use disorder.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved. Contributors to this news report include: Breanna Molloy, Field Producer; Wladimir Moquete, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.