The Perinatal Addictions Prevention Project is a statewide effort with three primary goals: reduce the number of pregnancies affected by substance use; limit the damage caused by substance use and educate the community about perinatal substance use. As the regional program coordinator for South Jersey, we support this mission with a comprehensive strategy of screening, education and prevention.
The Perinatal Addictions Prevention Project encourages the screening of all prenatal patients - early in pregnancy - for drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Early identification of risk enables early intervention which contributes to better outcomes. In support of universal screening, the program provides a range of free services that include the Perinatal Risk Assessment Tool (PRA), on-site staff training and technical assistance with PRA integration and ongoing use. Providers can also rely upon the program's well networked staff to assist with patient referrals for treatment services.
PRA data demonstrates the value of screening as nearly half of all patients screened indicated substance use in the month before they knew they were pregnant.
The Perinatal Addictions Prevention Project offers educational opportunities designed to increase awareness of perinatal substance use disorders. Placing an emphasis on evidence-based practices, these offerings cover a variety of issues surrounding the topic. Formats include workshops, conferences, on-site training and webinars. Knowledgeable health educators are available to customize presentations for individual groups.
Increasing awareness about the health risks of perinatal substance use and working to improve the system of care for those at risk are our core prevention activities. Community outreach and education is robust and occurs in the usual and not so usual venues. Staff frequently present at workplaces, schools and churches as well as at county jails and drug court. The Perinatal Addictions Prevention Project team is a regular and valued contributor to system-focused initiatives convened to examine such things as access, policies and provider availability.