Characteristics of pregnant substance abusers in two cities in the northeast

Margaret Bendersky, Steven Alessandri, Patricia Gilbert, Michael Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


This study examined the drug use patterns of pregnant women in two inner city sites, selected to overrepresent cocaine users. Women who used cocaine were much more likely to have used some combination of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana in addition to cocaine during pregnancy. There was little difference in the patterns of drug use in the two study sites, Trenton, New Jersey, and northwestern Philadelphia. A number of demographic and lifestyle variables of cocaine users, soft drug users (cigarettes, alcohol, and/or marijuana), and abstainers were compared. The cocaine-using group was significantly older and had more children, had less stable and more isolated living situations, was less likely to be employed and more likely to be receiving public assistance during pregnancy, and was more likely to have a higher drug and alcohol-using social environment and family history than soft drug users or abstainers. Of significance was that many of the high risk lifestyle factors exhibited by cocaine users were also seen, albeit to a lesser extent, among the soft drug users. These findings have implications for the timing of intervention strategies that would be most effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-362
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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