Research Report 2013

Shibogama Health Authority and the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) jointly issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in February 2013 for research pertaining to pregnant women and young mothers with a history of addictions in the Shibogama communities of Kasabonika, Kingfisher Lake, Wapekeka and Wunnimun Lake.  The research was intended to provide important service-related information for the region with specific input from the Shibogama communities. The RFP included an environmental scan, a needs assessment, and a review of current service practices. It anticipated the development of recommendations to improve both community-based and institution-based services for pregnant women and mothers with a history of addictions. 

Florence Woolner and Associates submitted a proposal in response to the RFP and were awarded the contract. Research was conducted between May and July, 2013 and the final research report was produced in November 2013.


  • Total births in a five year period for mothers 30 and under were 227, with an average of 45 births per year in the four communities
  • 43% of births were to mothers with a history of addictions
  • Up to 89% of addicted women use or have used opioids
  • Most women who experienced addictions were in a relationship (60 – 70%)
  • Most addicted women had larger families (3 or more children)
  • Almost all of the partners of addicted women were using as well and both partners tended to stop at the same time
  • 82% used drugs during their last pregnancy
  • Half the users indicated they used drugs heavily (daily or almost daily)
  • Mothers indicated 30% of their babies were born suffering some withdrawal; mothers expressed sadness, regret, guilt, shame, worry and self-directed anger
  • Majority of mothers who used during pregnancy thought about quitting but were unable, citing withdrawal as main barrier
  • Many women mentioned repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit; Suboxone has been the most successful approach
  • Many referred to other trauma or grief including deaths and suicides of loved ones, loss of children, marital problems
  • Many credited support from family and friends, doctors, nurses
  • Women seldom used local counsellors


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