Policy perceptions of US state public health and child and family services regarding maternal opioid use and neonatal exposure

Lisa Fath Scott, Cynthia Stone, Joan Duwve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To explore how state legislatures and departments of health are responding to the public health and economic issues of increases in opioid use disorder and the impact on pregnant women and infants. Design: The design was a non-experimental descriptive study using a mixed methods survey research approach. Setting: Electronic and telephone survey of individuals from state departments of health associated with departments of behavioral health and substance use, or child and family services. Participants: Fifty-two respondents employed by individual state departments of health and child and family services. Methods: Univariate analysis and frequency distribution of ordinal variables was completed. Thematic analysis was used to analyze free text questions and identify themes. Results: All states reported recent changes or plans to address the problem of opioid misuse in their state. Many respondents feel their state continues to lack adequate services for treatment. Some states are exploring unique methods for addressing this in a safe and timely fashion, such as moving medication-assisted treatment to primary care and expanding licensure to Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and nurse practitioners. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate an increased commitment throughout the United States to enhance access to clinically appropriate treatment of substance use disorder particularly during pregnancy, consider unique methods for addressing the problem of opioid dependency, and increase education and primary prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of psychiatric nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Health policy
  • Maternal opioid use
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome
  • Opioid use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Policy perceptions of US state public health and child and family services regarding maternal opioid use and neonatal exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this