Opioid use among pregnant women on the rise, CDC says

National opioid use disorder rates among women delivering a baby more than quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, according to the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Aug. 10.

Here are four things to know:

1. Researchers analyzed hospital discharge data, gathered from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project between 1999 to 2014 to assess the national and state opioid use disorder trends among hospitalized women giving birth. Researchers noted not all hospitals shared data with the state inpatient databases used for the study. However, at least 80 percent of births reported to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics are represented for each state.

2. During the study period, prevalence of opioid use disorder among pregnant women nationally jumped from 1.5 cases per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations to 6.5 cases per 1,000 deliveries, marking a 333 percent increase. In Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia, this rate surpassed 2.5 per 1,000 deliveries annually. 

3. Opioid use disorder diagnosis also differed from state to state, researchers found. As of July, eight states require healthcare teams to test for prenatal drug exposure if the mother is suspected of drug use. Twenty-four states and Washington, D.C., require clinicians to report suspected opioid use. An additional 23 states and Washington, D.C., consider substance use while pregnant child abuse.

4. The analysis may underreport opioid use disorder, since "documentation of opioid use disorder at delivery hospitalization might not reflect diagnoses at other points in the pregnancy," the researchers wrote. 

More articles on opioids: 

Physicians prescribe fewer opioids after county medical examiner notifies them of patients' fatal overdose
Opioids after wisdom teeth surgery linked to risk of long-term use
Pain points in the opioid epidemic… for hospitals and physician practices

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