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J Perinatol. 2006 Nov;26(11):660-6. Epub 2006 Oct 12.

Neonatal illicit drug screening practices in Iowa: the impact of utilization of a structured screening protocol.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



The purpose of the study was to determine the neonatal illicit drug screening practices of Iowa birthing hospitals.


Cross-sectional survey design was implemented. The impact of structured screening protocols on the numbers of neonates screened and positive testing in 2004 was reviewed.


Of 81 birthing hospitals, 53 (65%) participated in the study. Screening and positive test rates were higher in hospitals utilizing a structured screening protocol compared to those not utilizing one (10.9 versus 2.1% and 0.9 versus 0.2%, respectively, P < 0.0001). Hospitals with higher population, numbers of outpatients, inpatients, deliveries, and availability of drug abuse treatment services utilized a structured screening protocol more often.


Utilization of a structured screening protocol increases the number of neonates screened for illicit drugs and positive testing rate regardless of urbanization. Regional standardization of structured screening protocols may improve the recognition of perinatal illicit drug exposure and provision of treatment services.

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