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Characteristics of drug use among pregnant women in the United States: Opioid and non-opioid illegal drug use.

BACKGROUND: The opioid epidemic in the US is affecting pregnant women and their offspring, with rising numbers of maternal and neonatal treatment episodes. The aim of this study was to characterize pregnant drug users in order to inform intervention strategies based on sociodemographic, mental health, and substance use characteristics.METHODS: Data on pregnant women aged 18-44 reporting past-year, nonmedical opioid use or use of non-opioid illegal drugs (other than marijuana) were analyzed from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2005-2014). Women (N = 818) were categorized into 3 groups: 1) use of opioids only (n = 281), 2) opioid-polydrug users (n = 241), and 3) other (non-opioid) illegal drug users (n = 296). Characteristics between the 3 groups of women were compared using bivariable analyses.RESULTS: Most women were non-Hispanic White (67.6%), had a high school diploma or less education (61.0%), a household income CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant drug-using women were often of low socioeconomic status, with mental health and substance use patterns suggesting the need for targeted mental health/substance use screening and interventions before and during pregnancy, particularly for opioid-polydrug users.

Authors: Metz, Verena E VE; Brown, Qiana L QL; Martins, Silvia S SS; Palamar, Joseph J JJ

Drug and alcohol dependence. 2018 02 01;183(5):261-266. Epub 2017-12-27.

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