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STARS Program

Oklahoma's STARS Program is designed to increase the well-being of and improve permanency outcomes for children and families affected by or exposed to opioids or other substance use. As a part of these efforts, the STAR Prenatal Clinic provides comprehensive specialized prenatal care for women with substance use disorders in pregnancy in a collaborative environment, with an emphasis on coordination of care with supportive psychosocial services and substance use treatment providers.

The Need for Specialized Care

  • The number of pregnant women in Oklahoma diagnosed with an SUD has increased by more than four times since 1999.
  • An infant is born suffering from opioid withdrawal every 25 minutes in Oklahoma.
  • In 2018, 1,040 women gave birth to infants affected by withdrawal symptoms in state licensed medical facilities. 70% of these mothers were not connected with treatment after delivery.
  • In 2016 and 2017 2,082 infants born in Oklahoma were affected by withdrawal symptoms. Almost 1 out of 4 were born in the Oklahoma City metro area.

Goal of the STARS Program

  • Develop training and cross-training to increase the knowledge base of the medical, therapy, and child welfare systems
  • Enhance the well-being of children, parents, and families and improve safe and permanent caregiving relationships
  • Improve retention in substance use treatment and successful completion of treatment for parents
  • Facilitate the implementation, delivery, and effectiveness of prevention services and programs for at-risk families.
  • Decrease the number of out-of-home placements for children by enhancing the safety of children prior to delivery
  • Decrease the number of out-of-home placements for children at-risk of removal

Key Partners in the STARS Program

  • OK Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • OK Department of Human Services
  • Substance use Treatment And Recovery (STAR) Prenatal Clinic at the OU Health Sciences Center
  • A Better Chance to Chance Clinic at the OU Health Sciences Center
  • Treatment, referral, and support agencies and organizations.

Key Services Offered

  • Pre-plans of self-care that lists and directs individualized services and supports provided for babies affected by substance exposure
  • Medication assisted therapy to support mothers along their recovery journey with his SAMHSA recommended therapy model
  • Prenatal and postpartum care ensuring both mother and baby have their medical needs met by some of the top OB-GYNs in the state that specialize in serving this population
  • Behavioral health supports and services in-house clinical social workers provide behavioral health support and collaborate with local substance abuse treatment providers to provide treatment supports and recovery services

For more information on the STARS Program or STAR Prenatal Clinic:

Dr. Stephanie Pierce

STAR Clinic Lead

Tracy Clark

STAR Clinic Administrator

Sean Couch

STARS Program Manager

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