Data, statistics, public policy research and other information related to pregnancy and substance use.

Opioids Do Not Have Potential To Cause Malformations To An Embryo Or Fetus

"It is important to note that, contrary to alcohol, benzodiazepines and nicotine, opioids do not have teratogenic potential (3). Thus, special attention needs to be paid to dependence and abuse of legal substances and prescription drugs that can have severe consequences for the foetus and newborn, such as foetal developmental disorders or sudden infant death syndrome (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence, 2013; McDonnell-Naughton et al., 2012)."

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Is An Easily Treatable Condition and No Infant Mortality Should Occur As A Result Of NAS

"Untreated opiate dependence in pregnant women is associated with many environmental and medical factors that contribute to poor maternal and child outcomes. Illicit opioid consumption is associated with a sixfold increase in obstetric complications such as low birth weight, toxaemia, third trimester bleeding, malpresentation, puerperal morbidity (2), foetal distress and meconium aspiration.

Prevalence of Current Illegal Drug Use Among Pregnant Women in the US

"• Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, 5.4 percent were current illicit drug users based on data averaged across 2012 and 2013. This was lower than the rate among women in this age group who were not pregnant (11.4 percent). Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, the average rate of current illicit drug use in 2012-2013 (5.4 percent) was not significantly different from the rate averaged across 2010-2011 (5.0 percent).

Drug Testing of Pregnant Women

Drug Testing of Pregnant Women: "A difficult dilemma is created by State laws that require the reporting of nonmedical use of controlled substances by a pregnant woman or that require drug testing after delivery if illicit drug use is suspected. These laws can have the unintended effect of women not seeking prenatal care. Drug testing during pregnancy, or postnatally, can have severe consequences.

Constitutional View On Prosecuting Pregnant Women

"Another constitutional argument [against prosecuting pregnant women] is based on the right to privacy: the prosecution of a pregnant drug-addicted woman infringes upon a woman’s right to privacy, as established in Roe v. Wade.111 In Roe, the Supreme Court held that the right to privacy, 'whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action ... or ...


"Illicit drug use by women is also not new. By the end of the 19th century, almost two thirds of the nation's opium and morphine addicts were women [2]. The issue of drug use during pregnancy garnered the national spotlight starting in the 1960's when public attention began to focus on the possible harm to the unborn child. Less than 15 years after Chuck Yaeger shattered the sound barrier, several events combined to shatter the placental barrier – the notion that the fetus was protected and even invulnerable.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: "Descriptions of deleterious effects of alcohol consumption on the fetus have appeared early in history, although the first scientific study documenting alcohol’s harmful effects was not published until 1968 (70). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), characterized by pre- and post-natal growth retardation, facial dysmorphology, and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, was recognized in 1973 as a consequence of chronic alcohol exposure during pregnancy (31).