Opiate Dependence and Pregnancy: 20-year follow-up study published
Friday, 4th April 2008
Marie Whitty and John O'Connor Psychiatric Bulletin (December 2007). 31:450-453.
A paper on a 20 year follow-up study of opiate dependence and pregnancy has been published by The Drug Treatment Centre Board in the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Journal of Psychiatric Practice: Psychiatric Bulletin.
Dr. John J. O'Connor, Clinical Director, the Drug Treatment Centre Board.
This study examined the 20-year outcome of 55 women who were pregnant and using opiates in 1985 and were attending the Drug Treatment Centre and Advisory Board, Dublin. We established outcome across a number of variables, including mortality, psychiatric and physical morbidity, psychosocial functioning, ongoing drug misuse and outcome of offspring.
At 20-year follow-up 29 women (53%) were deceased. HIV was the commonest cause of death, accounting for 17 deaths (59%). Those who were alive at follow-up displayed high rates of unemployment (84%), illicit substance misuse (74%) and most were dependent on state-subsidised accommodation (78%).
Mortality was higher in our group compared with other long-term follow-up samples. These findings suggest that such participants and their offspring require intensive long-term support and treatment.