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Co-use of alcohol, tobacco, and licit and illicit controlled substances among pregnant and non-pregnant women in the United States: Findings from 2006 to 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data.

2020 01 01

Journal Article

Qato, D.Mazen; Zhang, C.; Gandhi, A.Bipin; Simoni-Wastila, L.; Coleman-Cowger, V.H.

Drug Alcohol Depend





BACKGROUND: The use, misuse and co-use of alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and other licit and illicit controlled substances has increased in past decades leading to higher rates of morbidity, overdose, and mortality in women of reproductive age. Co-use compounds the adverse health effects of substance use compared to single-use of similar substances. Little is known about the full range of substance combinations used by pregnant and non-pregnant women. We sought to describe patterns of co-use of alcohol, tobacco, and controlled substances, and examine correlates of co-use in a nationally-representative sample of women.METHODS: Cross-sectional study using self-reported survey data from 2006 to 2014 for women ages 18-49 years (N = 160,371) in National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. We use weighted proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to report differences in substance use patterns in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Multivariate logistic regression models assessed association between characteristics and type of substance use pattern.RESULTS: Prevalence of substance co-use among pregnant women is 5.1% and among non-pregnant women is 23.6%. Nearly all of the most frequent co-use patterns included alcohol, cannabis, or tobacco. Determinants of co-use among pregnant women included: younger age (18-25 years) compared to ≥ 26 years [AOR (95% CI): 1.81 (1.18, 2.80)]; and past year history of substance use [AOR 5.42 (3.59, 8.20)].CONCLUSIONS: Co-use of several substances, including and especially of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis, persists among pregnant women in the United States. Efforts that aim to improve maternal and child health should address the complexity of substance use during pregnancy, including and beyond opioids.

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