• Article

Unintended pregnancy in opioid-abusing women

The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of unintended pregnancy and its three subtypes (mistimed, unwanted, and ambivalent) among opioid-abusing women. In the general population, 31%–47% of pregnancies are unintended; data on unintended pregnancy in opioid- and other drug-abusing women are lacking. Pregnant opioid-abusing women (N = 946) screened for possible enrollment in a multisite randomized controlled trial comparing opioid maintenance medications completed a standardized interview assessing sociodemographic characteristics, current and past drug use, and pregnancy intention. Almost 9 of every 10 pregnancies were unintended (86%), with comparable percentages mistimed (34%), unwanted (27%), and ambivalent (26%). Irrespective of pregnancy intention, more than 90% of the total sample had a history of drug abuse treatment, averaging more than three treatment episodes. Interventions are sorely needed to address the extremely high rate of unintended pregnancy among opioid-abusing women. Drug treatment programs are likely to be an important setting for such interventions.


Heil, SH., Jones, H., Arria, A., Kaltenbach, K., Coyle, M., Fischer, G., ... Martin, PR. (2011). Unintended pregnancy in opioid-abusing women. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 40(2), 199-202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2010.08.011