While the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc across the country, a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sheds light on the devastating consequences that opioid addiction can have on pregnant women. The analysis, published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, found that the number of women with opioid use disorder (OUD) at childbirth and childbirth more than quadrupled from 1
Opioid addiction can lead to a number of health problems that affect a person's physical well-being, mental health and social relationships. According to the CDC, opioids, includingand killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than every year registered.  Opioid dependence during pregnancy during pregnancy has been associated with a number of negative outcomes for the mother and their children, including maternal death, premature birth, and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  "These findings illustrate the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on families in the United States, including the youngest," CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD said in a statement. "Opioid disorder untreated during pregnancy can lead to harrowing results: each case represents a mother, a child and a family who need continuous care and support."
For the study, the researchers analyzed a national database that included information on women in 28 states.
The researchers found that the rate of opioid use disorder increased from 1.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 1999 to 6.5 in 2014. On average, the national prevalence rate grew by 0.39 cases per 1,000 each year of the study period.
The authors also observed some geographical differences. The annual average rate increases were lower in California and Hawaii, and were higher in Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia.
"Even in the states with the lowest annual increases, more and more women are presenting with opioid use disorder and labor delivery," said Wanda Barfield, MD, Rear Admiral, US Public Health Service (USPHS) and Director of Reproductive health division. "These data at the state level can provide a solid foundation for the development and personalization of prevention and treatment efforts."
The authors recognize that while state variability may reflect differences in opioid prescribing rates or the prevalence of illicit drug use, it could also be the result of better screening, diagnosis and treatment.
The report also includes strategies for states that address opioid dependence among pregnant women, including:
- Ensure an appropriate opioid prescription, in line with the most up-to-date CDC guidelines.
- Maximizing and enhancing prescribed drug monitoring programs
- Implement screening of universal substance use at the first prenatal visit.
- Ensure pregnant women with opioid use disorder access to drug-assisted therapy and other addiction services.  Ensure that mothers with opioid use disorder receive an adequate patient-centered post-natal car, including mental health and substance use treatment, relapse prevention programs, and follow-up services family planning.
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