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Health Indicator Report of Drug Use During Pregnancy

Use of drugs during pregnancy is associated with poor birth outcomes.


Data for White and Black do not include Hispanics. Hispanic ethnicity includes persons of any race. The number of positive responses among Asian mothers is too small to calculate reliable rates. 2000-2009 data by race/ethnicity are not comparable to data for 2010 and later due to the lack of race/ethnicity reporting from New York City prior to 2010.

Data Source

Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

Drug use during pregnancy is self-reported and, thus, assumed to be under-reported to some degree. New York City did not report race and ethnicity for births to New Jersey residents that occurred in NYC prior to 2010 and still does not report alcohol use during pregnancy. Therefore, data by race/ethnicity for 2000-2009 is not directly comparable to data for 2010 and later. The old New Jersey Electronic Birth Certificate (EBC) data collection system was retired and the new Vital Information Platform (VIP) was rolled out in hospitals across the state over a one-year period from July, 2014 through June, 2015. VIP does not collect information on drug use during pregnancy, so '''2013 is the last year that data are available for this indicator'''.


Self-reported use of drugs by the mother during pregnancy


Number of live births whose mothers used drugs


Total number of live births

Healthy People Objective: Increase abstinence from alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs among pregnant women: Illicit drugs

U.S. Target: 100 percent

How Are We Doing?

Use of illicit drugs during pregnancy has been consistently below 2% for the total population of live births since 1999, therefore there is little room for variation by demographic characteristics such as age, nativity, marital status, and educational attainment. Preterm delivery is 1.7 times as likely among mothers who use illicit drugs during pregnancy and the prevalence of low birth weight (< 2500 g) is more than double that of mothers who abstained. The average birth weight of infants whose mothers used drugs during pregnancy is about 3,000 grams compared to 3,270 grams for those who abstained.

What Is Being Done?

The New Jersey Department of Health has been committed to addressing perinatal addiction since 1980 and provides support to a system of perinatal addiction services. These risk reduction services include referral for treatment and education. For additional information about these services or for more information on the effects of substance use during pregnancy, please contact the Reproductive and Perinatal Health Services at (609) 292-5616.
Page Content Updated On 08/11/2016, Published on 12/28/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 07 August 2020 21:09:50 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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