Recognition and Initial Management of the Pregnant Substance-abusing Woman
Chemical dependence among women of childbearing age (18–34) continues to increase, and the substance abuse literature shows they are overrepresented among those persons who are current and regular users of legal drugs, illegal drugs and alcohol1. The pregnant substance-abusing patient is encountered in many settings including hospital medical units, obstetrical clinics, labor/delivery suites, postpartum units and in community liaison work. Due to the potential contact with this high-risk population, medical personnel should become aware of their attitudes toward this population, the skills and knowledge needed to identify these patients and the patients’ referral needs. This paper will address the importance of early identification of the pregnant substance-abuser and will also briefly describe a model intervention procedure jointly used by the Prentice Women’s Hospital and Maternity Center and Northwestern’s Perinatal Services component of the Chemical Dependence Program of Northwestern University.
KeywordsObstetrical History Substance Abuse Literature Chemical Dependence Substance Abuse History Past Substance Abuse
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