1 in 1000 Pregnant Women Addicted to Drugs

(from previous… get care and help as soon as possible,” said Tucker. The sooner the mother stops using illicit drugs, the better for both mother and child. This decreases the chances of developing associated diseases and affords the prenatal care and treatment they need to achieve recovery.

The importance of avoiding substance abuse during pregnancy is finally beginning to hit home for many, especially in light of the opioid crisis. “The impact with pregnant women is certainly getting more attention these days, because the amount of ladies coming in for heroin and opiate use is huge,” said Tucker.

“It’s very complicated because you’re not treating one person, you’re treating two people,” said Tucker. “So you have to have a specialist, including an obstetrician, as well as prenatal care,”

Some women fear they will lose their child if they report any substance abuse. It is possible child protection services will become involved if both mother and child test positive for heroin or any illicit drug at birth. However, if the mother seeks treatment with the use of methadone or similar type of drugs, then child protection services is unlikely to become involved.

Tucker said the hospital has a number of resources for both mother and child in outpatient care, with programs that possess the goal or preventing a relapse after birth. “Detoxing and maintenance and stabilization are one thing,” he said, “but preventing a relapse is another after they deliver and have their child.”

“There’s work to be done because even with the infant, we have to make sure that we have a facility that can handle some withdrawal and admission to ICU for a short period of time to handle any withdrawal from opium and other drugs,” said Tucker.

Many medical institutions have yet to adequately prepare themselves to handle pregnant women with addiction issues.  “We’re trying to change that,” said Tucker. “It is at a turning point that even in our own area, Orange County … we’re prepared to handle this population.”