Priorities for Well Child Care of Families Affected by Parental Opioid Use Disorder

J Addict Med. 2024 Jan-Feb;18(1):48-54. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000001243. Epub 2023 Nov 22.


Background and objectives: Parenting women in treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) report a lack of family centeredness and anticipatory guidance within well child care (WCC), and WCC utilization is low among affected children. We explore priorities for WCC visit content to inform primary care recommendations for this population.

Methods: This study is a qualitative study of parenting women from one urban, academic OUD treatment program and pediatric primary care clinicians from a nearby affiliated pediatric practice. Eligible parent participants had a child ≤2 years old and were English speaking. Semistructured interviews elicited perspectives on WCC, with questions and prompts related to visit content. Inductive thematic analysis was led by 2 investigators using open coding procedures.

Results: Among 30 parent participants, the majority were White (83%) and unmarried (90%). Approximately 60% reported their child received pharmacotherapy for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Of 13 participating clinicians, 9 were attending pediatricians. Five themes emerged from parental and clinician interviews: (1) improving knowledge and confidence related to child development, behavior, and nutrition; (2) mitigating safety concerns; (3) addressing complex health and subspecialty needs through care coordination; (4) acknowledging parental health and wellbeing in the pediatric encounter; and (5) supporting health education and care related to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Parents and clinicians expressed difficulty comprehensively addressing such issues due to time constraints, social determinants of health, and significant informational needs.

Conclusions: Parenting women in treatment for OUD and pediatric clinicians share multiple priorities for anticipatory guidance within WCC visits and barriers to addressing them comprehensively.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Child
  • Child Care
  • Child Health Services*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Parents


  • Analgesics, Opioid