Effects Of Drug Use On Fetal Development Essay

1687 Words Dec 9th, 2016 7 Pages
Does parental exposure to cocaine predispose offspring to develop a cocaine addiction?

The effect of cocaine use on fetal development has been a hot topic since the drug reached the height of its popularity from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. A large number of research studies on the teratogenic effect of cocaine emerged in response to the so-called “crack baby epidemic.” The results of these studies were often exaggerated or flawed, reporting that populations exposed in utero would have severe physical, emotional, and behavioral disabilities (Keller et al. 1996). While exaggerated, the results of these studies were not entirely false, and since then there has been a significant number of research studies that support the teratogenic effect of cocaine. These studies show that the effects of in utero exposure may stretch beyond the physical and eventually lead to mental complications later on, including, but not limited to, substance dependence. There is enough evidence to suggest that prenatal cocaine exposure may lead to addiction disorders in offspring. Cocaine is an illicit stimulant derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is commonly abused in the United States. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million active users over the age of 12, with the highest prevalence of use in adults aged 18 to 25 (NIDA 2016). A 1992 study that analyzed the meconium of newborns found that 44% of 3010 subjects tested positive for cocaine while only 11% of mothers admitted to…

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