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Meth Use May Be Growing More Common in Pregnancy

Drug accounted for 24 percent of pregnant women admitted to substance facilities in 2006

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- In recent years, methamphetamine use has become much more common in pregnant women admitted into substance abuse treatment facilities, according to research published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Mishka Terplan, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues analyzed data from the Treatment Episode Data Set, which tracks admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities and includes roughly 1.5 million admissions annually. From 1994 to 2006, 245,970 pregnant women were admitted.

The researchers found that the number of pregnant admissions increased from 18,034 in 1994 to 22,382 in 2006. Methamphetamine use accounted for 8 percent of admitted pregnant women in 1994, a number that rose to 24 percent in 2006. By contrast, that year methamphetamine as the primary substance accounted for 12.4 percent of admissions in nonpregnant women, and 6.9 percent of admissions in men. Admissions of pregnant women who reported no income rose from 15.2 to 40.4 percent, the authors note.

"Methamphetamine admissions seem to reflect increasing social disadvantage. We observed an increase in admissions arising from the criminal justice system, Medicare-funded admissions, those from supervised living situations, and those among women reporting no source of income. About one half of the admissions stated that they had no health insurance, despite the fact that most low-income pregnant women are Medicaid-eligible," the authors write.

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