The life threatening effects of prenatal drug abuse on children

PUP is a home-based treatment intervention that is delivered on a weekly basis over a period of 3—4 months. During the weekly sessions, parents are taught skills to help them with child management and how to build solid relationships with their children and with their partners. Participants in the program are also taught how to gain greater control over their emotional state and reduce the likelihood that they will relapse to drug or alcohol use.

The life threatening effects of prenatal drug abuse on children

Abstract The effects of prenatal exposure to drugs on brain development are complex and are modulated by the timing, dose, and route of drug exposure. It is difficult to assess these effects in clinical cohorts, which are beset with multiple exposures and difficulties in documenting use patterns.

This can lead to misinterpretation of research findings by the general public, the media and policy makers, who may mistakenly assume that the legal or illegal status of a drug correlates with its biological impact on fetal brain development and long-term clinical outcomes.

The life threatening effects of prenatal drug abuse on children

It is important to close the gap between what science tells us about the impact of prenatal drug exposure on the fetus and the mother, and what we do programmatically with regard to at-risk populations.

Introduction Chemical neurotransmitters serve important functions in the coordination of the development of neurons and brain circuits Box 1. Psychoactive drugs modulate receptors, transporters and other components of neurotransmission, many of which are expressed during prenatal stages of brain development, although their expression patterns and functions are sometimes quite different from their more typical roles later in life.

Thus, the presence of these proteins in the developing brain underlies the well-documented impact of prenatal drug exposure on brain architecture, chemistry and neurobehavioral function in clinical cohorts and in animal models.

On This Page:

Box 1Effects of neurotransmitters on brain development Studies beginning almost 50 years ago demonstrated that the capacity to synthesize and degrade neurotransmitters, particularly biogenic amines, many of the receptors through which they signal, and circuits that utilized them emerged early in embryogenesis, - Given the appearance of neurotransmitters well before synapse formation, a variety of roles in neurodevelopmental processes were postulated, but not demonstrated.

Modern in vitro approaches and genetic engineering of mice has facilitated discoveries that identify the pleiotropic nature of neurotransmitter signaling in neurodevelopmental processes.

As a few examples of non-synaptic functions, dopamine regulates progenitor cell cycle kinetics and dendritic growth 62, serotonin modulates cell proliferation and the response of growing axons to classic guidance molecules, GABA activates the migration of developing neuronsand glutamate regulates oligodendrocyte precursor survival Key to these influences is the expression of subsets of receptors in transient developmental patterns that mediate early neurotransmitter signaling for developmental purposes.

This is followed by spatial and temporal reorganization and the expression of other subtypes that may be involved in modulating or directly inducing synaptic transmission. Many legal drugs such as nicotine and alcohol can produce more severe deficits on brain development than some illicit drugs such as cocaine.

However, erroneous and biased interpretations of the scientific literature often affect educational programs and even legal proceedings.

For example, a pregnant woman whose emergency room toxicology screen revealed cocaine use was recently jailed and accused of using a deadly weapon against her unborn child in Tennessee, United States 1.

Such policy decisions may have unintended adverse consequences: Box 2Criminal prosecution of pregnant women using drugs of abuse A study in reporting damaging effects of cocaine use during pregnancy 16 produced a massive media response.

Based on the media reports, laws were enacted in the United States requiring health care professionals to report pregnant illicit drug users to child welfare authorities and legislation was pursued to make drug use during pregnancy a criminal offense. The desire to guard fetal health and outcomes is understandable; however, research shows that pregnant women who fear prosecution and the potential loss of their children as a result of using drugs of abuse are less likely to seek essential prenatal and medical care.

Thus, the policies that were meant to deter illegal drug use among pregnant women had unintended consequences, resulting in even greater risk to the fetus Moreover, the threat of criminal punishment can foster fear and mistrust between doctors and their patients, increase maternal stress, and endanger the health of women and their future children.

Based on the science, one could argue that this is considerably worse than the drug exposure itself. South Carolina in the United States has been particularly aggressive in using the court system in an attempt to deter drug use during pregnancy. At least 90 women have been prosecuted for stillbirths after using drugs or alcohol.

Between anda prominent hospital in Charleston adopted a policy of informing police of any positive test for cocaine in pregnant women. The patients were informed that an arrest would occur if they failed to successfully complete a drug program.

If a positive test was obtained at delivery the woman would be immediately arrested and charged This policy was discontinued in because of pressures applied by the Department of Health and Human Servicesand was found to be constitutionally deficient in by the Supreme Court They ruled that Mrs.

McKnight had not received a fair trial due to ineffective counsel and the inclusion of unsupported scientific evidence Prenatal drug abuse is a very tragic, yet preventable issue in our society. For a pregnant woman, drug abuse is doubly dangerous.

Drugs may harm her own health, interfering with her ability to /5(1). Long Term Effects Of Heroin Addiction On Babies. Heroin is a drug that appears to have a significant impact not only on the behaviors and cognitive development of children exposed to heroin prenatally, but also on the stability of their home environment.

Pregnancy & Prescription Drug Abuse, Dependence and Addiction Presentation to NAS itself is life threatening or results in permanent harm. and tobacco use, there have been no reported long term effects of maternal opioid use on the developing child.

Some major problems for a baby exposed to substance abuse during pregnancy may include:

Prenatal Effects Photo by ©Shutterstock/ Yana Godenko Studies show that various drugs may result in miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and a variety .

A new clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics examines research on the short and long-term effects of prenatal and observed substance abuse in the home on children, and how to break the cycle of multigenerational alcohol and drug addiction.

The life threatening effects of prenatal drug abuse on children

These programs will likely focus on relationships, family, and the effects of alcohol abuse on children. Women suffering from alcohol use disorder should seek treatment at an inpatient treatment center to have access to behavioral therapies.

Effects of Substance Addiction on Your Mind, Body, and Spirit