NIAAA-Supported Research: State policies that regulate alcohol/drug use during pregnancy cause worse birth outcomes, increase public health costs

Research Update

Research Date

A new study finds that several state-level policies targeting alcohol and drug use during pregnancy lead to greater numbers of low birthweight and preterm births, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars more in public health spending each year.
The study—a collaboration between the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) a program of the Public Health Institute, and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a reproductive health research group based at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)— showed that four policies -- mandatory warning signs, giving pregnant women priority for substance abuse treatment, limits on criminal prosecution, and defining substance use during pregnancy as child abuse/neglect -- were related to increases in low birthweight and preterm births.
The study results were published in PLOS One.
This research was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AA023267.