Clinical characteristics of Central European and North American samples of pregnant women screened for opioid agonist treatment
Background: Little comparable information is available regarding clinical characteristics of opioid-dependent women from different countries. In the present study, women from the USA, Canada and a Central European country, Austria, screened for participation in the Maternal Opioid Treatment Human Experimental Research study, were compared with respect to their demographic and addiction histories. Methods: Pregnant women (n = 1,074) were screened for study participation using uniformed clinical criteria and instruments. The screening results were compared with regard to exclusion, demographics, drug use, and psychosocial and treatment histories. Results: Compared to the screened US and Canadian women, Austrian women were more likely to be younger (p < 0.001), white (p < 0.001), had significantly lower levels of educational attainment (p < 0.001), were less likely to use opioids daily (p < 0.001) and more likely to have been prescribed buprenorphine (p < 0.001). Compared to both rural and urban US groups, the Austrian group was less likely to have legal issues (p < 0.001) and was younger when first prescribed agonist medication (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The differences between North American and European groups may offer unique insights concerning treatment and pregnancy outcomes for opioid-dependent pregnant women.