Methamphetamine Use Among Pregnant Women

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To estimate trends in the prevalence of methamphetamine treatment during pregnancy in the United States.


Data were obtained from the Treatment Episode Data Set, an administrative data set that captures admissions to federally funded treatment centers in the United States. Demographic and treatment-related measures were examined among women admitted for methamphetamine use and stratified by year of admission to assess trends over time.


From 1994 to 2006 there were 245,970 pregnant women admitted. In 1994, methamphetamine accounted for 8% of admitted pregnant women, rising to 24% by 2006. This proportion was higher than methamphetamine admissions among both nonpregnant women (12%) and men (7%). The majority of methamphetamine admissions occurred in the West (73%) among white (64%) unemployed (88%) women. Over the time of analysis, women admitted for methamphetamine treatment became sicker (measured by increasing co-occurring psychiatric disorders) and more marginalized (measured by increasing dependent-living situations and criminal justice involvement).


Methamphetamine has become the primary substance compelling treatment during pregnancy. Our findings suggest a need for more effective drug and alcohol screening by clinicians who are positioned to identify and address such concerns outside the criminal justice system.



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