Why is TAAM Needed?
Since 1999, the number of pregnant women diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) has increased by more than fourfold in Oklahoma. In 2018 there were 1,040 women who gave birth in state-licensed facilities to infants affected by withdrawal symptoms and 70% of them were not connected with substance use treatment following delivery.
In addition to the impact substance use during pregnancy has on newborns, parental substance use is one of the leading causes of children being placed in out-of-home care. In 2021 parental alcohol or substance abuse was an identified condition of over half of removals in Oklahoma, placing the state higher than the national average of the proportion of removals due to substance abuse.
Substance use during and after pregnancy also significantly increases the odds of maternal-related mortality. More than two-thirds of the people who died of mental health-related causes within a year of giving birth had a history or current indication of substance use.
The need for connecting pregnant and parenting mothers with substance use issues to comprehensive, specialized care tailored for them is clear. However, due to societal stigma and perceptions of mothers with substance use disorder, this priority population has been difficult to reach and oftentimes reluctant to seek treatment.
The TAAM campaign aims to reach this priority population, destigmatize their substance use issues, and provide a connection to treatment providers. This connection to care is vitally important to decreasing substance use, preserving the parent-infant bond, strengthening our families and communities, and disrupting cycles of trauma and generational trauma that impact our state.