Determining the Initiation of Opiate Misuse Resulting in Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women

Zachary W. Walker, Abigail R. Vinson, Dean Babcock, Tara Benjamin, David M. Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to explore the “opiate misuse footprint” made by obstetrics and gynecology physicians in prescribing opioid medications for postpartum pain control that led to opioid misuse and opioid use disorder. Data were collected using intake information and anonymous surveys administered to pregnant women at local methadone clinics in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2016–2017. Results from this study revealed that 40% of the 33 participants stated that the first drug they became addicted to was prescription opioids; 71% stated that the first opiate they became addicted to was a prescription pain medication. Prescription opioids were mainly obtained from emergency medicine physicians and friends. Reported use of opioids within the past four months was high, with the most commonly used drugs being methadone (57.6%) and heroin (42.4%). A majority of participants also endorsed a history of sexual and physical abuse, recent incarceration, and mental health disorders. As a large number of pregnant women with opioid use disorder reported their initial drug of misuse as prescription pain medications, it is important to avoid overprescribing opioids in reproductive-age women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018


  • Initiation
  • misuse
  • opioid
  • pregnant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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