New research points towards the disturbing reality that many teenagers and young adults are not aware of the immediate consequences of using alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy. During the study, which was published in the 2015 edition of Addictive Behaviors and conducted by Assistant Professor Christopher Salas-Wright at UT Austin’s School of Social Work, a nationally accumulated group of pregnant teenagers were individually interviewed regarding substance abuse during pregnancy. Studies concluded that nearly 3 in 5 (about 59%) of all pregnant teenagers had used one or more chemical substances within the previous 12 months. This percentage is nearly twice as high as the rates of substance abuse amongst teenagers that were not pregnant. 35% of pregnant adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14 have reported using 1 or more substances within the past 30 days – this means more than 1/3 or pregnant adolescents is engaging in drug use while pregnant. And while it was proven that the rates of use decline dramatically during the third trimester of pregnancy, these findings prove that much more effort needs to be made in the area of informing teens of the dangers involved in substance use during pregnancy.
Addressing the Issue of Substance Abuse Amongst Pregnant Teens
It was found that the probability of substance abuse amongst pregnant adolescents and teenagers was about 50% less in those who had consistent parental guidance and support, and expressed significant interest in going to college. Parental guidance is a huge factor in many major life choices of young adults, including the use of drugs and alcohol. The most frequently used substances amongst pregnant teenagers were alcohol (16%) and marijuana (14%). Speaking to children about the dangers involved in experimenting with drugs and alcohol is common practice, though parents know it is likely that despite preventative efforts, experimentation will still take place. Therefore, it is highly important that the issue of engaging in drug use while pregnant is addressed specifically. Teenagers must be informed that the risk of harm done to the unborn child is significant and potentially devastating. Because around 750,000 teenage pregnancies are reported throughout the US on an annual basis, this issue is very real and very pertinent.
Treatment For Addicted, Pregnant Teenagers
Sadly, drug addiction and pregnancy are not uncommon, and many drug and alcohol treatment centers have been established exclusively for the treatment of pregnant women who are simultaneously battling addictions. These facilities are available to teenage patients, and some have even been dedicated solely to the treatment of pregnant teenage drug addicts. If you or your loved one is pregnant and dealing with a potentially life-threatening addiction, call one of our trained representatives today for a comprehensive list of treatment options.