Drug and alcohol services for pregnant women and new mothers

Additional support for pregnant women and new mothers experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol will now be available to people living in Murrumbidgee communities with a $1.8 million investment from Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN). 

In close partnership with Murrumbidgee Family and Community Services and Murrumbidgee Local Health District, MPHN sought a suitable provider of this high-intensity and assertive specialist drug and alcohol treatment service.

“This forms part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the National Ice Action Strategy”, MPHN CEO James Lamerton said. 

“Substance use during pregnancy can be associated with significant harm to mother and baby. It is important that we have a free and locally available specialist service to help local women during this critical period.” 

The service will provide one-to-one individualised and community-based support for women across the Murrumbidgee. 

Calvary Health Care Riverina, a local not-for-profit drug and alcohol specialist provider, has been selected as the local provider. The service is expected to commence and begin accepting referrals in October. 

“Calvary Riverina is very pleased to be able to offer this important specialist service to the people of our regional area”, said Calvary Riverina CEO Robin Haberecht. 

“We have been providing specialist comprehensive drug and alcohol withdrawal and rehabilitation services for many years and firmly believe this will be a valuable support with positive outcomes for women and their families experiencing drug and alcohol issues”, Ms Haberecht said.

Services will vary depending on the needs of the woman, but can include:

  • assessment and review
  • care coordination and referral support
  • counselling
  • harm minimisation
  • withdrawal support and coordination 
  • education
  • advocacy 
  • care planning in partnership with GPs, key services, and specialists
  • positive parenting (including bonding and attachment) and practical skill development.

MPHN CEO James Lamerton and Calvary Riverina CEO Robin Haberecht recently met to discuss the new service.

Cristy Houghton