Smoking in pregnant women screened for an opioid agonist medication study compared to related pregnant and non-pregnant patient samples

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2009;35(5):375-80. doi: 10.1080/00952990903125235.


Background: Little is known about the prevalence and severity of smoking in pregnant opioid dependent patients.

Objectives: To first characterize the prevalence and severity of smoking in pregnant patients screened for a randomized controlled trial, Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER), comparing two agonist medications; and second, to compare the MOTHER screening sample to published samples of other pregnant and/or patients with substances use disorders.

Methods: Pregnant women (N = 108) screened for entry into an agonist medication comparison study were retrospectively compared on smoking variables to samples of pregnant methadone-maintained patients (N = 50), pregnant opioid or cocaine dependent patients (N = 240), non-pregnant methadone-maintained women (N = 75), and pregnant non-drug-addicted patients (N = 1,516).

Results: Of screened patients, 88% (n = 95) smoked for a mean of 140 months (SD = 79.0) starting at a mean age of 14 (SD = 3.5). This rate was similar to substance use disordered patients and significantly higher compared to general pregnant patients (88% vs. 22%, p < .001).

Conclusion and scientific significance: Aggressive efforts are needed to reduce/eliminate smoking in substance-abusing pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Methadone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotics / therapeutic use
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Narcotics
  • Methadone