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Alcohol Use Among Pregnant Women in Treatment Dropped

Alcohol use among pregnant women in substance abuse treatment drops in past decade, but illicit drug use rises

According to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the percentage of pregnant woman in substance abuse treatment using alcohol (with or without drug use) dropped from 46.6 percent to 34.8 percent over a ten year period. However, the report also shows that the percentage of substance abuse admissions involving pregnant women using drugs (without co-occurring alcohol use) rose from 51.1 percent to 63.8 percent during this same period.

The proportion of women of childbearing age (age 15 to 44) who were pregnant when entering treatment remained relatively stable between 2000 (4.4 percent) and 2010 (4.8 percent). The study also showed that non-pregnant women of childbearing age experienced similar trends in substance use as their pregnant counterparts.

"Any kind of substance use by pregnant women can result in miscarriage, premature birth or a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems in the children they carry," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. "Pregnant women must have access to prevention, support, and recovery services that meet their specialized needs. These include community programs for both pregnant and postpartum women that can help ensure their full recovery and better lives for them and their children."

SAMHSA';s Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women expands the availability of comprehensive, residential substance abuse treatment, prevention, and recovery support services for low-income pregnant and postpartum women and their minor children. These support services include help for non-residential family members of both the women and children. The program uses a family-centered approach that meets the special needs of the women, as well as the health and well-being of their family members and other important relationships.

The report entitled, Trends in Substances of Abuse among Pregnant Woman and Women of Childbearing Age in Treatment, is based on findings from SAMHSA';s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reports. TEDS is a national system of tracking annual admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities throughout the nation.

The complete report findings are available on the SAMHSA web site at:



July 25, 2013

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