• Article

Unintended pregnancy in opioid-abusing women


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

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.