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The Wright Center Receives Grant to Support Mothers Enrolled in Healthy MOMS Program


Scranton, Pa. (Oct. 8, 2021) – The Wright Center for Community Health was recently awarded nearly $600,000 in federal grant funding to combat the ongoing opioid crisis by supplying addiction treatment and related services to pregnant women and new mothers who cope with substance use disorder.

The grant will support women living in recovery in Northeast Pennsylvania who are active in the region’s Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support program (Healthy MOMS), which The Wright Center for Community Health co-founded with its community partners nearly three years ago.

More than 115 mothers and their children are currently helped by the collaborative Healthy MOMS program, which relies on dozens of health care organizations, government agencies and nonprofit groups to extend services across a multicounty territory.

Maria Kolcharno, director of Addiction Services at The Wright Center for Community Health

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will administer the grant funding that was made available to states by the federal government, specifically through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It is intended “to improve outcomes for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder,” according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

The Wright Center is one of 12 organizations in Pennsylvania to receive funding during the grant distribution process to expand access to pregnancy support services. Those services include postpartum health care, mental health care, nutrition education, employment readiness, childcare, life skills training and linkages to appropriate treatment programs, including medication-assisted treatment. One aim of the grant-funded project will be to extend supportive services to more women in southern Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

“We’re extremely grateful to be the recipient of funding that will enable us to help additional mothers and their families across our region,” said Maria Kolcharno, director of Addiction Services at The Wright Center for Community Health. “These moms essentially face a triple challenge today: caring for babies, maintaining sobriety and emotionally pushing through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a lot to ask of anyone, especially women who because of their past substance use might be alienated from a support network of family and friends.”

Among public health officials, pregnant women who use substances are deemed a priority population to receive recovery services, because both they and their unborn babies are especially vulnerable. The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly has made the situation even more fragile for certain people living in recovery and triggered a spike in substance misuse, as reflected in increased rates of relapse and drug overdose. Pennsylvania, for example, experienced a 14-percent increase in drug overdose deaths in 2020 compared to the prior year, according to preliminary data released this summer by the state Department of Health.

The latest grants are part of $55 million in federal funding awarded to Pennsylvania through the SAMHSA Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program COVID-19 Supplemental Awards.

Announced in early October, the $598,644 award made to The Wright Center will allow the Healthy MOMS program to further serve women and their children in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.A collaborative venture from the start, the Healthy MOMS program would not be an effective project without the substantial and sustained contributions of its dozens of community partners. Information about the project and its partners is available at this website: healthymoms.org. Learn more about the Healthy MOMS program by calling 570-995-7821 or texting healthymoms to 555888.

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