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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1997 Apr 14;45(1-2):105-13.

Cost-effectiveness of treatment for drug-abusing pregnant women.

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Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and drug treatment costs were compared in two groups of pregnant drug abusing women: 100 admissions to a multidisciplinary treatment program and active in care at the time of delivery and 46 controls not entering drug treatment. Clinical measures included urine toxicology at delivery, infant birthweight. Apgar scores and need for and duration of NICU services. Cost measures included drug treatment and NICU costs. Treatment patients showed better clinical outcome at delivery, with less drug use and higher infant estimated gestational age, birthweight and Apgar scores. Infants of treatment patients were also less likely to require NICU services and, for those that did, had a shorter stay. When total cost was examined (including drug treatment), mean net savings for treatment subjects was $4644 per mother/infant pair. The study demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of treatment for pregnant drug abusing women, with savings in NICU costs exceeding costs of drug treatment.

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