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Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse

Prenatal Effects

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Jonah’s mother was a heroin addict. Shortly after birth, it was obvious Jonah was in withdrawal. His jittery movements and crying persisted for the next 2 days and there was little anyone could do to console him. He scratched his face trying to get his hands to his mouth. His knees and elbows were rubbed raw from his agitated movements, and the muscles in his tiny legs were so stiff that it was difficult to straighten his legs to diaper him.

Source: www.cmiproject.net

The full extent of the effects of prenatal drug exposure on a child is not known, however studies show that various drugs of abuse may result in premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight, and a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems.

Drugs that may have adverse prenatal effects:

This page was last updated December 2012

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National Institute of Drug Abuse (2012). Prenatal Effects. In Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/prenatal-effects

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