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Portrait of Davina Moss-King.

Published February 26, 2019

UB alumna is the founder of an organization that helps local victims of the opioid crisis

Moss-King provides hope to pregnant women who are striving for change

After 27 years of experience as a substance abuse counselor, certified rehabilitation counselor and national credentialed counselor, Davina Moss-King (PhD ’05, Counselor Education) became the founder and president of Positive Direction and Associates in 2014. Moss-Kings’ company focuses on enhancing the quality of life for women and infants that are exposed to opioids and other substances to ensure a successful pregnancy, as well as delivery. She notes that each woman’s quality of life is improved by education, which increases self-efficacy for parenting and recovery.

Moss-King has given hope to women who are making an effort to make a difference in their life and improve the chances of their infant’s life. Since 2014, Positive Direction and Associates has provided a life changing and empowering experience for 11 women and 12 newborn infants. “It is my goal to give hope to as many women as possible throughout our area and beyond,” Moss-King said. “My mission is to provide an opportunity for women to believe in themselves and be their own agent for change.”

In 2014, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health Statistics reported that an estimated 225,000 infants contract illicit substances each year and the numbers are increasing; every 25 minutes an infant is born and diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb before birth, causing the newborn to go through drug withdrawals.

These statistics influenced Moss-King to write a short course about addiction and pregnancy followed by the book, “The Positive Direction Model: Opioid Use & Pregnancy.” She proceeded to turn her “Positive Direction Model” into a workbook, which is individually created to educate women on their addiction and how the use of substances will affect the infant in utero. The workbook also educates women on NAS, along with expectations at labor and delivery.

The Positive Direction Model is also used for continuing education through the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Teachers and medical staff use the model to improve their motivational interviewing techniques with their patients and students to enhance communication skills. Moss-King plans to eventually implement her model nationally to decrease the negative effects of opioid use disorder and infants exposed to opioids.

“My years of counseling experience have provided me with empathy and an understanding of the recovery and the emotions of the women that are attempting recovery,” Moss-King said. “I want to be a role model for my two daughters showing them that goals can be met with focus and self-determination.”

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