The use of illicit and licit drugs during pregnancy is a major public health concern because of potential adverse effects on the fetus and the risk to maternal health. Because the placenta is the primary link between the mother and the conceptus and is essential for the growth and survival of the fetus, abnormalities in placental formation and function resulting from drug use could have a major influence on pregnancy outcome. At present, little information is available on the impact of abused drugs on placental biology alone or in combination with other "host" factors (eg, stress, infections). This prompted the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to convene a meeting of experts in placental biology to review cutting-edge research with the mission to translate existing information to new clinical and research initiatives in the drug abuse field. This report summarizes the presentations and research recommendations resulting from the workshop discussions.