"It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behavior."
- Gabor Maté

Perinatal substance use and abuse:
The Challenges

Substance abuse in the perinatal period is a problem which crosses all socio-economic levels and is intrinsically linked with other societal factors, including poverty, racism, sexism, and economic and political power. The effects of abuse are not limited just to the mother—substance abuse affects the infant, as well.

Early emphasis in perinatal care was on the consequences of illicit drug use, alcohol, and tobacco during pregnancy. Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the use of opioids during pregnancy. Between 2000 and 2009, for example, antepartum maternal opioid use increased from 1.19 to 5.63 per 1000 hospital births per year. In addition, the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome diagnosed before newborn discharge increased from 1.20 to 3.39 per 1000 hospital births per year. The increase in opioid use underscores the importance of the emergence of prescription drug use and abuse during pregnancy.

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