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4 Percent Drink, 18 Percent Smoke
More than four percent of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 used illicit drugs during the past month, according to new data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The data show that pregnant women ages 15 to 25 were more likely to use illicit drugs than pregnant women ages 26 to 44.
SAMHSA extracted the data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, 2002 and 2003. These data also show that over four percent of pregnant women reported binge alcohol use and 18 percent reported smoking cigarettes. Binge alcohol use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month.
"We know that substance use by pregnant women is a leading cause of mental, physical and psychological problems in infants and children," SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie noted.
"These health ramifications are preventable. SAMHSA is working to get the word out that women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should not use illicit drugs, alcohol or cigarettes."
The report, "Substance Use During Pregnancy: 2002 and 2003 Update", found that 4.3 percent of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 used an illicit drug in the past month compared to 10.4 percent of non pregnant women in this age group. Pregnant women ages 15 to 25 were more likely to have used an illicit drug (8.0 percent) than those ages 26 to 44 (1.6 percent).
Among pregnant women ages 15 to 44, 9.8 percent reported drinking alcohol during the past month; 4.1 percent reported binge alcohol use; and less than one percent reported heavy alcohol use (five or more drinks on one occasion five or more times in a month). Cigarette use was higher among non pregnant women ages 15 to 44 (30.7 percent) than pregnant women (18 percent).
Substance use rates were lower for recent mothers than for women who were not recent mothers. The data suggest that women ages 15 to 44 increased their substance use during the year after giving birth, but not to the level of non pregnant women who were not recent mothers.
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