Opioid Program Press Release

Opioid Program Press Release

Adagio Health, partners introduce pilot project to support women battling opioid addiction

Provides family planning, birth control and prenatal services to women and partners


Abby Mathieu
304-281-8097 (cell)

Pittsburgh, Pa. (Wed.., Jan. 17, 2018) –  Adagio Health launched a new pilot program in partnership with UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital (UPMC Magee) and Allegheny Health Network West Penn Pregnancy Recovery Program (AHN West Penn) to address our region’s opioid epidemic. The project seeks to connect Allegheny County men and women, including addicted mothers-to-be, with quality family planning services, including treatment, birth control, information, referrals, and education to improve the chances of patients having a healthy life.

According to the Office of the Medical Examiner, there were 610 overdose deaths in Allegheny County in 2016, three-quarters due to opioids. Substance abuse is more common among women of reproductive age than among the general population. There are potentially more than 73,000 women in need of publicly funded contraceptive services throughout Allegheny County. For women who are addicted and pregnant, illicit drug use can have detrimental effects on both the mother and her baby. In 2013, UPMC Magee, alone, completed 343 inpatient methadone conversions of addicted pregnant patients.

“Allegheny County, like the rest of the Commonwealth, is experiencing the growing heroin epidemic that is plaguing so many other communities in Pennsylvania and across the country. Research tells us that the most significant portion of overdose deaths in Allegheny County is due to opioids,” BJ Leber, President & CEO, Adagio Health said. “Through education services, resources and birth control, we can help reduce the number of addicted pregnant women in Allegheny County. And by providing more information and referrals for treatment, we can help addicted pregnant women get themselves and their babies on a healthy track.”

The overall goal of this project is to improve health outcomes for addicted women, pregnant women, men, and their children in Allegheny County. In addition to UPMC Magee and AHN West Penn, Adagio Health has established partnerships with other addiction treatment facilities and community-based agencies to identify women, men and pregnant women (and their partners) struggling with addiction.

Adagio Health will also host family planning education and outreach activities at addiction treatment facilities and provide referrals for addicted pregnant women to find treatment. The sessions are conducted by a health educator and include information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), birth control and how they can obtain it from Adagio Health, healthy decision making, intimate partner violence and a condom demonstration. Adagio Health distributes family planning education materials, condoms, and bus passes to get to appointments to participants. The educator is also available to immediately connect women to services they need, such as help with housing, transportation or prenatal care.

“So far, we have conducted education sessions at Renewal Inc., Bethlehem Haven, POWER, and AHN. We currently have a number of sessions scheduled for 2018 with new partners including FamilyLinks and the YWCA,” Leber explained. “We are continuing to build relationships with organizations to schedule education sessions, and we hope to raise awareness of the help that is available so more people in Allegheny County can achieve healthy outcomes.”

Adagio Health hopes to expand on this program in future years in its 23-county western Pennsylvania service area.  Community members struggling with addiction can call Adagio Health at 866-520-9139 for more information or to sign up for an educational session. www.adagiohealth.org

About Adagio Health – For 45 years, Adagio Health has provided health and wellness services and support throughout 23 counties in Western Pennsylvania. Adagio Health offers four distinct services to our region: family planning/gynecology/prenatal care/STD testing and prevention, breast and cervical cancer screening, community education and nutrition services. Most of the nearly 110,000 patients and clients receiving services at Adagio Health are women who are uninsured, underinsured or need access to confidential reproductive health and family planning services. These services are provided through funding from foundations, the State and Federal government and in partnership with a variety of community partners and other funders, such as Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh.  www.adagiohealth.org