Project Abstract

The goal of this data linkage project is to inform efforts to strengthen families affected by substance use during a pregnancy and substance exposure of a newborn. The meaningful ways we define dyads of mothers and substance exposed newborns can bring into focus opportunities for prevention, treatment, and support. This project will examine a comprehensive set of definitions for substance exposed newborns in order to understand which mothers and children are at greatest risk for vulnerable life experiences in the prenatal and infant years.

In year one of the project, we will generate baseline information on trends in substance exposed newborns. In year two, we will describe – separately for each definition – how dyads of mothers and children engage in the child welfare, health, mental health, substance use, public benefit, and related systems beginning the year prior to the birth and continuing through a year postpartum. Babies born between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017 will be included in the study.

The short-term goal of this project is to establish a baseline for how dyads engage with a given system and baseline data on health outcomes and mortality rates. The long-term goal is to understand how newborn substance exposure relates to patterns of cross-system engagement and life outcomes in order to provide insight into opportunities to strengthen families.

Agencies: 

Colorado General Assembly

Research Partners: 

Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Illuminate Colorado

University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab