National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children

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Prenatal substance exposure

National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center – 2012

Discusses substance use among pregnant women, its consequences on children, and ways to address the problem. Presents data on drug, alcohol, and tobacco use among pregnant women. Discusses the social and psychological issues that contribute to substance use during pregnancy. These include domestic violence, past history of abuse, mental illness, and low socioeconomic status. Summarizes research on the short and long term effects of prenatal substance exposure on children, broken into sections on tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription drugs. Describes the social and financial costs of prenatal substance exposure, including those associated with medical care, substance abuse treatment, special education, and child welfare and foster care services. Outlines different types of interventions for pregnant and parenting substance users, including gender-specific, trauma-informed, and harm reduction approaches. Also discusses treatment for co-occurring disorders, family treatment drug court, and residential treatment. Describes barriers to treatment and interventions for newborns. Provides an overview of relevant public policies related to prenatal exposure, such as newborn testing and reporting, prosecution and mandated treatment, and loss of welfare benefits.