ADOPTION AND PRENATAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG EXPOSURE
The Scope of Prenatal Alcohol and Drug Exposure
Experts now estimate one-half to three-quarters of a million infants are born each year who have been exposed to one or more illicit drugs in utero. When legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco are added, the figure rises to considerably more than one million substance exposed infants.
Brady, Posner, Lang, & Rosati 1994.
The incidence of prenatal alcohol and drug exposure is imprecise at best. Some of the estimates often cited include:
- Chasnoff (1989): 11% of all newborns [459,690 each year] are exposed to illicit drugs
- Gomby and Shiono (1991): More than 739,000 women each year use one or more illegal drugs during pregnancy
- Schipper (1991): A substance exposed infant is born more frequently than every 90 seconds
- Gomby and Shiono (1991): 2.6 million infants each year are prenatally exposed to alcohol
- US DHHS (1990), Streissguth & Giunta (1988): FAS affects each year between 1.3 and 2.2 children per 1,000 live births in North America
- Streissguth & Giunta (1988), Abel & Dintcheff (1984): Cases of Alcohol Related Birth Defects [ARBD] exceed those of FAS by a ratio of 2:1 to 3:1 - or between 16,500 and 22,000 children each year are born exhibiting the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol
In the International Arena
Aronson (1997) reviewed 131 medical records of children adopted from Russia and found that 2 children met the strictest requirements for FAS: 1.53% or 15 per 1,000 births - 8 times greater than world incidence. She also found that 12.5% of the children had a history of maternal alcohol abuse in the medical records.
PRENATAL SUBSTANCE EXPOSURE
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