Drug Misuse in Pregnancy in the Northern and Yorkshire Region
(8 January 2003)
The Northern & Yorkshire Public Health Observatory has released the latest in a series of Occasional Papers: Drug Misuse in Pregnancy in the Northern and Yorkshire Region.
This report looks at how many drug misusers were identified by all the maternity units in the former Northern and Yorkshire NHS region during 2001. It also looked at the way numbers were recorded, and how closely the units came to certain standards of good practice.
Dr Michael Grandey, who undertook the study says: "Drug misuse is an important public health problem, with implications for society, the local community, families of drug users, the drug users themselves, and their offspring. Up to now very little was known about how common the problem was among pregnant women in this Region. This study has highlighted that among pregnant women, drug misuse is much more common that had previously been known. Close to 1% of all babies born are to drug-misusing mothers. This is around 10-times higher than had previously been documented."
Professor John Wilkinson, the Director of the Northern & Yorkshire Public Health Observatory says: "This is a very important study, highlighting the need for midwives and doctors concerned with pregnant women to be increasingly vigilant. Women who misuse drugs need to be identified so that the best possible care during and after their pregnancy can be offered. We have made several recommendations in the report which should help identify such women and improve maternity services for them."
The report is available from the Northern & Yorkshire Public Health Observatory. For further information please telephone 01642 385900.