Why We Address Perinatal Substance Use

Suicide and accidental overdose continue to be the top two causes for maternal death in Colorado and across the nation, and the overwhelming majority of overdose deaths are attributed to opioids. In Colorado, 80% of all maternal deaths were determined preventable – through better medical care, mental health care, or substance use treatment. 

The opioid crisis has continued to accelerate in the United States, and has not spared pregnant and postpartum people. The number of pregnant people with an opioid use disorder more than quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. Often what stands in the way of recovery is stigma perpetuated by the healthcare system against people who use substances, and that stigma is exacerbated for pregnant and parenting people. 

What We Do

Through local and statewide collaboration, CPCQC works to bridge gaps in perinatal behavioral healthcare with the implementation of innovative frameworks and coordinated, cross-sector practices to create a network of care surrounding pregnant and postpartum people with behavioral health concerns. 

pregnant woman holding pills and glass of water

CO AIM: SUD screens and identifies patients for substance use disorder and mental health conditions, and ensures they receive intervention, referral to treatment services, and high-quality care that is customized to their unique needs during labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum. Provider education addresses stigma and gaps in understanding of perinatal substance use and its treatment.

For infants born to parents who used substances during their pregnancy, CHoSEN works with patients to provide non-pharmacological treatment services for neonatal abstinence syndrome, and reduce the length of stay of NICU admission for substance-exposed newborns.

The Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative and Framework takes a broad approach to supporting perinatal behavioral health, including substance use care, through collaboration, collective action, and accelerated progress toward improved maternal mental health and wellness.

Through our FIRST program, pregnant and postpartum people from diverse backgrounds share their experiences and advice to help inform how we address perinatal substance use care and guide quality improvement across hospital systems and community-based care in a way that is patient-centered, trauma-informed, and non-stigmatizing.

IMPACT BH brings together hospitals, primary healthcare services, and community-based organizations to provide wrap-around support and care navigation to pregnant and postpartum people and their families experiencing behavioral health concerns, substance use, or chronic stress.

MOMs+ prepares birthing hospitals provide equitable access to treatment and recovery for perinatal patients with substance use disorders, including connection to the patient and family, inpatient initiation of medication for opioid use disorder and treatment of other substance use disorders, and transition to outpatient recovery with community providers.

Parents Thrive is an online tool and project of the Colorado Maternal Mental Health Collaborative designed to help new and expecting parents find resources and relatable stories to support their emotional wellbeing, including curated blogs and resources specifically for new and expecting parents impacted by perinatal substance use. 

Perinatal Substance Use Resources


Get Involved

Help us improve maternal and infant health outcomes for all Colorado families. There are multiple ways to get involved: participate in a program, become a community advocate, attend an event, or share your story. Whether you are an individual, healthcare facility, community-based organization, or industry leader, there’s space for you in our work.