Motherhood, pregnancy and gateways to intervene in substance use disorder


Choi, S., Stein, M. D., Raifman, J., Rosenbloom, D., & Clark, J. A. (2021). Motherhood, pregnancy and gateways to intervene in substance use disorder. Health & Social Care in the Community, 00, 1– 10.

Motherhood increases women’s use of health and social services, presenting opportunities to identify and refer women with substance use disorder (SUD) to treatment. We pooled 4 years (2015–2018) of cross-sectional data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health on women of child-bearing age (18–44) in the United States (n = 64,346). (1)

We compared the use of services (health, social and criminal justice involvement) by SUD and ‘motherhood’ (pregnant or has one or more children under 18). We used multivariable logistic regression models to estimate the association between motherhood, SUD and their interaction with the use of services. (2) We estimated the association between the use of different services and SUD treatment use among women with SUD.

Among women of child-bearing age, 9.7% had SUD. Mothers who had SUD were more likely to use social services (AOR = 1.48 [95% CI: 1.22, 1.79]) and mental health services compared with non-mothers who did not have SUD (AOR = 1.40 [95% CI: 1.19, 1.65]). The following factors were associated with increased odds of receiving SUD treatment among mothers: mental health treatment utilisation (AOR = 1.94 [95% CI: 1.29, 2.93]); Medicaid coverage (AOR = 2.48 [95% CI: 1.64, 3.76]); and criminal justice involvement (AOR = 3.38 [95% CI: 1.97, 5.80]).

To increase treatment access, it is important to address women’s different stages in life, including how to best engage women in SUD care across different settings.

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