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Am J Public Health. 1994 Sep;84(9):1433-8.

Trends in the US prevalence of drug-using parturient women and drug-affected newborns, 1979 through 1990.

Author information

1
Washington Consulting Group, Washington, DC.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

There has been a lack of reliable national data on the number of pregnant women using drugs and the number of newborns affected by such use. The major reasons for this lack have been inadequate sampling and data collection procedures and the lack of a risk assessment perspective in analysis. This paper corrects for these inadequacies.

METHODS:

Data from 1979 through 1990 from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, an annual survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, were analyzed.

RESULTS:

Between 1979 and 1990 there was a 576% increase in the rate of discharges of drug-using parturient women in the United States and a 456% increase in the rate of discharges of drug-affected newborns. After adjustment for underreporting, a "best estimate" of the number of discharges from 1988 through 1990 was about 88,000 per year for drug-using parturient women and about 48,000 per year for drug-affected newborns.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the data support the occurrence of a national epidemic of drug use among pregnant women during the 1980s, the size and severity of this epidemic have been overstated.

PMID:
8092367
PMCID:
PMC1615182
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.84.9.1433
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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