UH moves to aid growing numbers of pregnant opioid-addicted women

University Hospital helping pregnant opioid-addicted women

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - University Hospitals will open a treatment center for pregnant women addicted to opioids this fall in midtown Cleveland at the Rainbow Center for Women and Children.

Dr. LuLu Zhao, an OBGYN at UH, says the number of women addicted to opioids in Northeast Ohio has doubled since 2011, from roughly 2,000 to somewhere around 4,000 now.

This number includes expectant mothers.

"We are seeing a lot more women who are addicted during pregnancy, whose babies are born in physical withdrawal and whose postpartum lives are complicated by the consequences of heroin addiction," said Zhao.

Dr. LuLu Zhao is on a team of doctors and medical professionals who care for pregnant women who suffer from Opioid Abuse Disorder.

Pregnant women who want help with their addiction are given medication that eliminates their cravings for opioids.

"She is physically stabilized and then that also also provides some mental stability and social stability so that she can then engage in treatment programs to really fully treat the addiction," added Zhao.

The Cleveland Clinic had a similar program in place to help pregnant women addicted to opioids.

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