ASBURY PARK — Opioid addiction has hit just about every demographic in New Jersey, but now there is a concentrated and proactive effort to focus on deterring expectant and postpartum mothers from returning to these destructive drugs.

With funding from the New Jersey Department of Health, the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium and GoMo Health have launched two dovetailing programs to help women who are battling an opioid use dependency or disorder, all the way from prenatal care through their baby's first 15 months of life.

The first initiative is the Maternal Child Health Personal Concierge, a mobile-based guide who gathers information about a mother's place of residence, severity of medication withdrawal, and various social, emotional, and spiritual determinants to craft daily, personalized messages emphasizing what that person can do to change their outlook in "short, snackable bites," according to Bob Gold, clinical behavioral technologist and GoMo Health founder.

Gold said one of the key questions when dealing with someone in the throes of opioid addiction is, "How do you get somebody to feel they can accomplish a task?" He theorizes that a positive outcome is 3 to 5 times more likely if a person can be convinced that yes, they can get through their problems, be resilient, and believe in themselves and their own credibility.

The Personal Concierge approach has already proven effective, Gold said, because it does not require any action on the part of the patient. In fact, it's his long-held assumption that "the person will do nothing."

"We go to the person. The reason why it's called concierge care, or personal concierge, is we go to them," Gold said. "What we try to do is fit into their lifestyle, be part of it, not be an interruption to the lifestyle."

Often, according to Gold, a message from the concierge can consist merely of a keyword meant to trigger a recall for a woman taking advantage of the program, like halting an impulse to take a drug or concentrating on the needs of her baby.

Looking from the opposite angle, the question of how those in the medical field can best treat women struggling with opioid use is reflected in the second new GoMo program, the Provider Concierge for healthcare professionals. Gold said this helps guide obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, social workers, midwives, and others to accessing resources in both their county and throughout the state.

The Provider Concierge allows these workers to assess early warning signs if a mother may revert to opioid use, and advises on what the appropriate information is to share.

GoMo Health and the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium launched both concierge services earlier this month, and over the next few months, the groups will work in tandem to make people aware of those services at vital facilities around Monmouth and Ocean counties, and eventually the rest of New Jersey.

For more information, visit gomohealth.com.

Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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