More Young Moms-to-Be Treated for Meth, Marijuana Abuse

TUESDAY June 29, 2010 -- Among pregnant teens admitted for substance abuse treatment, the proportion treated for methamphetamine abuse more than quadrupled -- from 4.3 percent to 18.8 percent -- between 1992 and 2007, while admission rates for marijuana abuse more than doubled, from 19.3 percent to 45.9 percent, a new government study shows.

During that same time, admission rates for alcohol abuse dropped from 44.1 percent to 20.3 percent of all pregnant teen admissions, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That means that marijuana is now the primary cause of admission to substance abuse treatment among pregnant teens.

The study also found that the overall proportion of substance abuse admissions for pregnant teens remained relatively steady -- 4.7 percent in 1992 and 4 percent in 2007 -- but there were notable changes in admission rates among certain ethnic and racial groups.

The proportion of whites admitted for treatment decreased from 54.5 percent in 1992 to 50.3 percent in 2007, the proportion of blacks admitted decreased from 24 percent to 14.7 percent, while the proportion of Hispanics admitted increased from 15.7 percent to 21.4 percent.

In both 1992 and 2007, almost one in six pregnant teens admitted for substance abuse treatment had at least two prior treatment admissions (15.6 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively).

"Treatment is essential in assisting young women to address their substance use problems before giving birth to a child, especially because these substances may seriously compromise a child's physical, cognitive and emotional development," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release. "These findings will help develop better prevention and treatment programs for young women and potentially free many from the grip of this enormous public health problem."

The data used in the study is from the 1992 to 2007 Treatment Episode Data Set, a nationwide reporting system of substance abuse centers.

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more about tobacco, alcohol, drugs and pregnancy.

Posted: June 2010


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