Opioid use disorder skyrockets among pregnant women

CDC: Rates quadrupled in 15 years, more prevention, screening, and treatment needed


The rate of opioid use disorder (OUD) among women giving birth in hospitals more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 deliveries to 6.5 cases per 1,000 deliveries, say CDC researchers in the August 10 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


In their study, researchers analyzed hospital discharge data from the 1999–2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to determine national and state trends in OUD among women who delivered their babies in hospitals. They found that the prevalence of OUD skyrocketed across the board, with the highest rate in Vermont at 48.6 cases per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations. Other states with higher than average rates were Maine, New Mexico, and West Virginia. California had the lowest average annual rate increase at 0.01 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations per year. The researchers wrote that their findings are consistent with national trends in neonatal abstinence syndrome from 1999 to 2013.


To address the issue, the researchers called for efforts to prevent, monitor, and treat OUD among reproductive-aged and pregnant women, including better access to data in state prescription drug monitoring programs, increased screening for substance use disorders, use of medication-assisted therapy, and referrals for treating substance use disorders.