Drug overdoses among pregnant women have spiked 180 PERCENT trends now
Drug overdose deaths among pregnant women have nearly tripled in five years, a study suggests.
A record 427 expectant mothers died after overdosing in 2020, which represented a 180 percent increase on 2017 researchers said.
The team at Columbia University in New York City analyzed nearly 8,000 pregnancy deaths between 2017 and 2020 from all causes.
Of these, 1,249 (16 percent) were attributed to drug overdoses. The rise was fueled by Fentanyl, but also big rises in the number of overdose deaths from methamphetamines and cocaine.
Overdose deaths have risen across the board — particularly in the wake of the Covid pandemic — as America grapples with the drug epidemic, but there are now early signs that it may be slowing down.
Overdose deaths among pregnant women and recent mothers have hit a record high, data from 2020 shows (file photo)
Emilie Bruzelius, a doctoral student who led the research, warned the overdose epidemic was spilling over into pregnant women.
She said the shutdown contributed to the rise by leaving more expectant mothers cooped up inside and unable to access healthcare, taking a toll on their mental health.
The team from the Mailman School of Public Health published their analysis today as a research letter in the journal JAMA Network.
They looked at data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the database that records all fatalities in the United States.
Researchers looked for overdose fatalities involving pregnant women, or those who had given birth within eight weeks.
Overdose deaths among expectant or recent mothers surged fastest in 2020, when they rose 45 percent from 304 in the previous year.
For comparison, fatalities rose six percent over the year to 2018 and 14 percent over the year to 2019.
The above graph shows the death rate from overdoses among pregnant women (dark blue), and those who are early postpartum (orange) and late postpartum (blue)
The above shows pregnancy-associated overdose deaths by year and type