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Journal Issue: Financing Child Care Volume 6 Number 2 Summer/Fall 1996

REVISITING THE ISSUES: Prevalence of Drug-Exposed Infants
Patricia H. Shiono


In the Spring 1991 issue of The Future of Children on Drug-Exposed Infants, based on the best available evidence, it was estimated that between 2% and 3% of newborns may be cocaine-exposed and between 3% and 12% may be marijuana-exposed while in the womb.1 Three new statewide surveys and two large surveys have since been completed.2-6 These new studies are notable because they used some of the most reliable methods to assess drug exposure: They screened the mother's or newborn baby's urine, blood, and/or meconium (stool); and they surveyed the population in an entire state, or large representative populations. This article updates the estimates of the number of substance-exposed infants, examines racial group differences in illicit drug use by pregnant women, and updates the information on the birth outcomes of women who use drugs during pregnancy.