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Drug misuse in pregnancy: the impact of a specialist treatment service

  • Ed Day (a1), Lyn Porter (a1), Alyson Clarke (a1), Debbie Allen (a1), Hamdy Moselhy (a1) and Alex Copello (a1)...
Abstract
Aims and Method

The use of illegal drugs is becoming increasingly common and presents particular problems in pregnancy. There is strong evidence to suggest that improvements in obstetric and neonatal outcomes can be made by attempts to treat the substance misuse problem, although this group may have limited engagement with traditional medical services. We conducted a retrospective case note review of a specialist ‘mother and baby team’ within a drug misuse treatment service to determine whether it had achieved its original service aims.

Results

There was a high level of engagement with the service, with the majority of cases staying in contact for over 20 weeks. The average dose of methadone fell during the course of the pregnancies, and at the time of delivery, only 20 of the 80 cases (25%) still in contact with the service had urine tests that were positive for heroin. A significant number of women managed to completely detoxify from all drugs by the point of delivery, in contrast with previous studies conducted with this patient population.

Clinical Implications

This study demonstrates that the specialist service for pregnant drug users has been effective in engaging those misusing drugs in treatment, leading to significant improvements in key outcome measures.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Ward, J., Mattick, R. P. & Hall, W. (1998) Methadone maintenance during pregnancy. In Methadone Maintenance Treatment and other Opioid Replacement Therapies (eds Ward, J., Mattick, R. P. & Hall, W.). Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.
Westatinc. (1996) National Pregnancy and Health Survey: Drug Use Among Women Delivering Livebirths 1992. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Drug misuse in pregnancy: the impact of a specialist treatment service

  • Ed Day (a1), Lyn Porter (a1), Alyson Clarke (a1), Debbie Allen (a1), Hamdy Moselhy (a1) and Alex Copello (a1)...
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