Tides, Inc. is a comprehensive, intensive, outpatient treatment program, integrating in-house services
with community partner services to engage pregnant/newly postpartum women
with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the recovery process.

The Tides mission is to keep the mother-child dyad intact by
helping these women become healthy so they can have healthy babies.

While providing obstetrical care to pregnant women in his practice, William Johnstone, MD, UNC Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Wilmington, NC began to notice that both the number of patients with opioid use disorder, as well as associated deaths from overdose, were increasing at an alarming rate. In the summer of 2016, he set out to learn about opioid use disorder and community programs designed to provide treatment and therapy.

Throughout the process, he educated himself about opioid use through coursework and evidence-based literature. Pregnancy is a unique opportunity for engagement in recovery because of the enhanced dopamine networks that occur when hormones flood the brain, resulting in “maternal motivation”.

Dr. Johnstone completed the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s “Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder” course, which qualifies him to provide medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) to his patients. He met with community stakeholders to discuss the issue of maternal opioid use and to identify ways that different entities could come together to provide a solution. He met with a number of professionals both locally and throughout the state. After many discussions, it became clear that weaving together existing community programs to establish an intensive, outpatient treatment program tailored to meet the unique needs of child-bearing women with opioid use disorder would be a viable solution.

In May 2017, Dr. Johnstone established Tides, Inc., a nonprofit corporation registered in New Hanover County, NC. He assembled a Board of Directors based on expertise and alignment to the cause. In 2018, he identified community partners and secured funding through the New Hanover County Government as a pilot program for a three year period. He hired the Executive Director and together they worked to establish the infrastructure and all aspects of this unique consortium of partners to provide a total turnkey solution for these women in a recovery program.

In June 2019, Tides opened its transitional living facility in downtown Wilmington to provide housing for women who were homeless, in unsafe housing or with an open Child Protective Services (CPS) case that required supervision in a structured program. The residential program quickly became a hallmark of Tides as it provided safe housing for this population and was unique in the community.

In 2022, Dr. Johnstone embarked on an intense journey and became one of the few board certified physicians in addiction medicine in the region. This distinction allows Tides to expand its treatment spectrum to address all forms of substance use.

In the same year, Tides was approached by several government officials in Moore County, North Carolina about duplicating the Tides program in their county and the Sandhills region. After much planning, Tides Sandhills was born. Funding has been secured by a grant from the FirstHealth of the Carolinas Foundation and from the NC DHHS. Other private, community-based, and governmental agency funding sources also contributed to the first year funding efforts in order to allow Tides to plan a start date in early 2023. The Executive Director was hired, and transitional housing was secured. Partners have been identified and are poised to begin delivering the comprehensive, community-based collaborative consortium of substance use recovery for pregnant women in this region.