Unplanned Pregnancies and Heroin
A recent study examined the prevalence of unplanned pregnancy among women who use heroin. There is much data on statistics related to unplanned pregnancies, however, data is lacking on unplanned pregnancies and women who use heroin. In the general population, 31%-47% of pregnancies are unplanned.
The study looked at pregnant women who were abusing heroin and examined socio-demographic characteristics, current and past drug use, and pregnancy intention. Interestingly, the researchers found that nearly 9 of every 10 pregnancies where the mother used heroin were unplanned (86%). Also of note is that despite pregnancy intention, more than 90% of the women had a history of drug abuse treatment, averaging at least three treatment episodes.
The study brings light to the fact that interventions are desperately needed to address the extremely high rate of unplanned pregnancy among women who abuse heroin.
Drugabuse.gov reports that, ”The number of past-year heroin users in the United States nearly doubled between 2005 and 2012, from 380,000 to 670,000. Heroin abuse, like prescription opioid abuse, is dangerous both because of the drug’s addictiveness and because of the high risk for overdosing. In the case of heroin, this danger is compounded by the lack of control over the purity of the drug injected and its possible contamination with other drugs. In 2010, there were 2,789 fatal heroin overdoses, approximately a 50 percent increase over the relatively constant level seen during the early 2000s. What was once almost exclusively an urban problem is spreading to small towns and suburbs.” They also point out that heroin abuse is often associated with risky sexual behavior, which often leads to unplanned pregnancies.
Source: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
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