The CDC estimates that 115 people die every day from an opioid overdose, a five-fold increase since 1999. The rise in opioid use during pregnancy, and the associated adverse experiences for affected babies, is especially concerning and there has been a lack of resources for this vulnerable population. It is now understood that addiction is a chronic medical disorder of the brain but many still view drug abuse as a character defect and the associated stigma poses a significant barrier.
The articles in this issue of the Journal highlight the challenges and approaches to responding effectively to opioid abuse, and explore how the principles around identification and interventions can be applied broadly to other types of substance abuse, in particular the dangers of alcohol abuse in women of child-bearing age.
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