Treatment of cocaine abuse during pregnancy: Translating research to clinical practice

Lynn Hull, James May, Dawn Farrell-Moore, Dace S. Svikis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In the late-1980s and early-1990s, much attention in America was focused on cocaine abuse. In particular, the effects of prenatal cocaine use on mothers and infants were in the news spotlight. Risks of adverse effects prompted funding for novel treatment programs. More recently, media attention has shifted elsewhere, and specialized treatment resources have grown scarce. This redirection of funding is unfortunate, as social stigma and fear of legal consequences continue to encourage cocaine-abusing pregnant women to hide drug use and avoid prenatal care. The purpose of this article is to summarize the most prominent adverse maternal and fetal/infant effects associated with prenatal cocaine use; review treatment options, focusing on comprehensive care programs of the 1990s as well as recent research on evidence-based practices and their applicability to pregnant women; and highlight the population of prenatal cocaine-abusing women uninterested in treatment, with a focus on promising strategies to promote drug abstinence and other positive health behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-461
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010


  • Cocaine
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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