Overdose Deaths Increase in U.S. Pregnant, Postpartum Women

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Overdose deaths increased in American pregnant and postpartum women from early 2018 to late 2021, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

Among those aged 35 to 44, overdose mortality more than tripled during this period, according to the study by researchers with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Over 60 percent of these pregnancy-associated overdose deaths occurred outside healthcare settings, though often in counties with available healthcare resources, such as emergency and obstetric care, according to the study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The findings suggest that, while treatment is available to pregnant women with substance use disorders, significant barriers – such as penalization, stigma, discrimination, and limited socioeconomic resources – may obstruct the path to care, according to the researchers. 

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