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Prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse

National Institute on Drug Abuse Topics in Brief Series – 2011

A research brief on the effects of prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse. Presents data on substance use among pregnant women, particularly those in younger age ranges. Contains general information on the negative impact of maternal substance use on children, as well as more detailed research on the effects of prenatal nicotine, alcohol, and other illicit drug use. Describes the adverse effects of smoking during pregnancy, as well as exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke among pregnant women. Provides a link to NIH resources on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Also includes information on the adverse effects of such drugs as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription opiates. Summarizes promising treatment approaches for pregnant women, including medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, evidence-based behavioral treatments, and addressing co-occurring mental health disorders. Includes topics for future research.