ACOG Committee Opinion No. 422: at-risk drinking and illicit drug use: ethical issues in obstetric and gynecologic practice

Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;112(6):1449-1460. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318192499b.


Drug and alcohol abuse is a major health problem for American women regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and age. It is costly to individuals and to society. Obstetrician-gynecologists have an ethical obligation to learn and use a protocol for universal screening questions, brief intervention, and referral to treatment in order to provide patients and their families with medical care that is state-of-the-art, comprehensive, and effective. In this Committee Opinion, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Ethics proposes an ethical rationale for this protocol in both obstetric and gynecologic practice, offers a practical aid for incorporating such care, and provides guidelines for resolving common ethical dilemmas related to drug and alcohol use that arise in the clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / therapy
  • Behavior Therapy / ethics
  • Confidentiality
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations / ethics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Substance Abuse Detection / ethics*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods
  • Young Adult