Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Opioid use in pregnancy and parenting: An Indigenous-based, collaborative framework for Northwestern Ontario

Naana Afua Jumah, Lisa Bishop, Mike Franklyn, Janet Gordon, Len Kelly, Sol Mamakwa, Terry O'Driscoll, Brieanne Olibris, Cynthia Olsen, Natalie Paavola, Susan Pilatzke, Brenda Small, Meldon Kahan


Opioid use affects up to 30% of pregnancies in Northwestern Ontario. Health care providers in Northwestern Ontario have varying comfort levels providing care to substance-involved pregnant women. Furthermore, health care practitioners, social service agencies and community groups in Northwestern Ontario often work in isolation with little multidisciplinary communication and collaboration. This article describes two workshops that brought together health and social service providers, community organizations, as well as academic institutions and professional organizations involved in the care of substance-involved pregnant and parenting women. The initial workshop presented best practices and local experience in the management of opioid dependence in pregnancy while the second workshop asked participants to apply a local Indigenous worldview to the implementation of clinical, research and program priorities that were identified in the first workshop. Consensus statements developed by workshop participants identified improved transitions in care, facilitated access to buprenorphine treatment, stable funding models for addiction programs and a focus on Indigenous-led programming. Participants identified a critical need for a national strategy to address the effects of opioid use in pregnancy from a culturally safe, trauma-informed perspective that takes into account the health and well-being of the woman, her infant, her family and her community.


Opiate dependence; pregnancy; Indigenous health services; rural population

Full Text: