Texas Launches Effort to Reduce Opioid-Related Deaths in Pregnancy with Houston Summit

News Release
News Release
August 2, 2023

The Texas Department of State Health Services today hosted a TexasAIM summit focused on reducing deaths and injuries of pregnant women and new mothers due to opioid and other substance use. The 600 in-person and virtual attendees heard from state and national leaders in health care, mental health, drug treatment and social services about how substance use affects women around pregnancy and the steps Texas is taking to improve their care.

“We know substance use can cause miscarriage and preterm birth,” said DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, MD. “It can also increase the risk of other pregnancy complications. Data from DSHS and the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee shows that substance use is one of the leading factors in pregnancy-related deaths, contributing to eight percent of deaths reviewed by the committee.”

The summit in Houston was part of TexasAIM, one of DSHS’s key programs for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas by working with hospitals to implement “bundles” of scientifically-proven best practices to create safer pregnancy care.

“TexasAIM’s first two bundles on maternal hemorrhage and severe hypertension focused largely on hospital care,” said Manda Hall, MD, DSHS Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement. “This new bundle on opioid and other substance use disorder in pregnancy starts with hospitals but will involve more partners since the substance use care and support needed by women comes from across the community.”

The first TexasAIM bundle focused on maternal hemorrhage and led to a decline in rates of pregnancy-related hemorrhage in Texas. The second bundle on severe hypertension re-launched earlier this year after work was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new substance use bundle is launching with an initial group of about 10 large hospitals that will learn from each other, document their experiences, and share their findings with the other maternity hospitals that participate in later phases.

In addition to improving care within the health care system, hospitals will partner with community organizations to support the well-being of their patients during and up to a year after pregnancy. TexasAIM provides a structure to support planning, coordination and collaboration for partnerships that will last into the future.

DSHS works to reduce pregnancy-related deaths and complications in multiple ways through TexasAIM, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee, the Healthy Texas Mothers and Babies initiative and the state’s Hear Her campaign to recognize the signs of pregnancy complications.


(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7119)