A substantial increase has been noted in the number of pregnant women and newborns who test positive for illegal as well as legal opiates, including those utilized as prescribed as well as those misused and/or diverted. A great deal of experience has been gained over the course of almost 50 years regarding the effects of prenatal opiate exposure on expectant mothers and their babies, and guidelines have been established for optimal care of both. And yet, reporting in the popular media continues to be overwhelmingly inaccurate, alarmist and decidedly harmful to the health and well-being of pregnant women, their children, and their communities.
As medical and psychological researchers and as treatment providers with many years of experience studying and treating prenatal exposure to psychoactive substances, as well as treatment providers and researchers with many years of experience studying addictions and addiction treatment, we are writing to urge that policies addressing prenatal exposure to opiates, and media coverage of this issue, be evidence-based rather than perpetuate and generate misinformation and prejudice.
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