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Cocaine use during pregnancy assessed by hair analysis in a Canary Islands cohort

Joya, X., Gomez-Culebras, M., Callejon, A., et al. – 2012

A study of the prevalence of illicit drug use among pregnant women in Tenerife using maternal hair analysis. Discusses the problem of drug use during pregnancy, noting the growing trend of drug abuse (including cocaine) in Europe. In this study, hair samples were taken from women on the day they delivered their babies. The samples were screened for all drugs of abuse. Results showed 2.6% were positive for cocaine, but samples were negative for all other drugs of abuse. Cocaine-exposed newborns tended to be smaller, but showed no signs of withdrawal or malformation. The authors found a correlation between cocaine use, tobacco smoking, and antidepressant use in the women in the study. Suggests that hair analysis is a more accurate measure of prenatal drug use than self-reporting, and that screening is a valuable intervention tool to get drug using pregnant women into treatment.