Pregnancy is a highly sensitive condition for many women, but a large proportion of teenage pregnancies are jeopardized
by use of alcohol and drugs.
This was reported by a recent study by The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, in which Christopher Salas-Wright and a team of researchers investigated a possible link between teenage pregnancy and substance abuse. The research team discovered that 59 percent of pregnant teenagers have used drugs or alcohol for the past 12 months. It also revealed that 34 percent of pregnant adolescents aged 12 to 14 used controlled substances in the past 30 days prior to the survey. Details of the study were published in the Addictive Behaviors' Spring 2015 edition.
The study used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2012, specifically on teenage girls 12 to 17 years old. Out of the representative sample of 97,850 female adolescents, 810 of them declared that they were with child. Questions from the survey included the use of illicit substances such as cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and alcohol.
According to a news release by the University of Texas, alcohol tops the most commonly used substances by pregnant teens, pegged at 16 percent. Cannabis and other illicit substances follow suit at 14 and 5 percent, respectively.
Salas-Wright, an assistant professor at UT, said that their study was the largest research on teenage pregnancy and substance use
. The team emphasized the importance of information to prevent substance use by pregnant teens. "Mothers' substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies. Despite efforts to prevent substance use
among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do," said Salas-Wright.